University Chorale Performs with Charlotte Symphony and Master Chorale

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The University Chorale joined the Charlotte Master Chorale and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra to perform Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in two concerts, September 28 and 30. Also on the program was The Ordering of Moses, an oratorio by R. Nathanial Dett, featuring Assistant Professor Jason Dungee, tenor, in the role of Moses.

Founded in 1951, the Charlotte Master Chorale is the region’s premier choral ensemble and serves as the resident chorus of the Charlotte Symphony. Charlotte Master Chorale Director Kenney Potter invited the University Chorale to perform subsequent to meeting Dungee, who is the director of choral activities in the Department of Music, at the state conference of the American Choral Directors Association. Dungee said the concerts provide “an amazing opportunity to supercharge the education” of the chorale students.

“The opportunity is so critical because it allows our students to be able to sing with a professional choir and the professional orchestra in the community,” he said.

Recognized as a masterwork, Chichester Psalms is a three-movement setting of texts from the Biblical Book of Psalms composed in 1965. Paired with it was the North Carolina premiere of Dett’s oratorio, which was composed in 1937 and tells the Biblical story of Moses from his encounter with God in the burning bush to the deliverance of the Hebrew people through the parting of the Red Sea.

Singing the role of Moses is “daunting,” Dungee said, because of its size and depth, but he relishes the challenge.

“I love the opportunity to wear both hats in one performance. It’s rare to both sing and conduct in the same concert.”

Potter conducted the works by Bernstein and Dett, but in addition to the collaboration with the Charlotte Master Chorale, the University Chorale performed two works independently under Dungee’s baton: “My Lord, What a Moanin’” and “Blessed is the Man,” both by Adolphus Hailstork, the subject of Dungee’s doctoral dissertation. A prolific and award-winning composer, Hailstork (b. 1941) wrote “Blessed is the Man” as a gift for Dungee.

The concert on September 28 took place at the Cain Center for the Arts in Cornelius; the concert on September 30 took place at Queens University of Charlotte, which also presented a student chorus in the performances. For more information, please visit the Charlotte Master Chorale website.