Monday, September 29, 2014

Eric Conway: Morgan Choir returns from visit to James Madison Campus

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy and Eric Conway

Eric Conway, D.M.A. writes:

Hello everyone,

The Morgan State University choir most recently returned from an event at James Madison University where the Morgan State University choir joined forces with the James Madison choral ensembles in a concert kicking off a national conference on African American poetry.

Morgan and James Madison have enjoyed several opportunities for academic exchanges.  Over the years, we have had a Ph. D student in History receive a one-year in residence teaching fellowship support toward the completion of his/her dissertation.  Morgan has sent at least four students to James Madison as part of this relationship taking courses in their respective majors for the semester.  In November of 2011, members from the Fine and Performing Arts Department visited James Madison University in an effort to discover ways that the Fine and Performing Arts department could partner with the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

About a year ago the Dean of their College of Visual and Performing Arts, George Sparks and I began discussing the possibility of the Morgan choir singing with the JMU choral ensembles to kick-off an event for their Furious Flower Poetry Conference where African America poets from all over the country gather to discuss and current trends in African American Poetry as well as unveil some premiers of new works.  This concert would feature music that was inspired by poetry.

This past weekend was this kick-off event which was a great one-day long exchange opportunity for both schools.  Please see attached the program from the event.  Also see a YouTube clip from one the two opening songs in the concert - conducted first by their director, Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy and then followed by me.  Finally, see below an email from the choral director at James Madison giving plaudits to choir for their musicianship and character. 


YouTube link of opening two songs in concert: To Sit and Dream-Rosephanye Powell; I've Just Come From the Fountain-André J.Thomas

From: "van der Vat-Chromy, Jo-Anne - vanderjx" <>
Subject: To Morgan State with thanks and love!!!
Date: September 26, 2014 at 2:14:06 AM EDT
To: Conway Eric <>

Dear Eric and the Amazing Morgan State University Choir!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that our two University collaboration would be THIS AMAZING - and I KNEW it would be GREAT!  I can't tell you how much we here at JMU have been talking about and celebrating YOU, Dr. Conway and your AMAZING CHOIR!

As gorgeous and wonderful you are as a choir musically, I think that the most amazing thing we are all celebrating is how LOVING you are as a choir and as people.  How do we say thank you for being so completely open, transparent and wonderful?  Your bus arrived at 11:00 am and a light of the most mammoth proportions graced our campus and performance hall for the entire day - and we are still basking in that light even now at JMU - I know that we will for a very long time.

Eric, you must be so incredibly proud of the program you have built and the glory you create in every concert with your wonderful, magnificent ensemble.  You are a DCA to emulate and honor - what a glorious job you are doing at Morgan State!

Dearest new friends in Baltimore - THANK YOU FOR THIS GLORIOUS PROJECT - thank you for being you...and I hope you will remember that JMU adores you and honors your brilliance, your musicianship, your artistry and your journey.  Thank you for sharing the very best of you in all that you do and are.  We have been blessed by knowing you and by our collaboration.

Until we meet again!!!

From the JMU Choral Area,

Dr. V.

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy, Ph.D.

Director of Choral Activities
Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education
Director - JMU Vocal Arts Summer Camp
Past Director - Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir

James Madison University
School of Music
880 S. Main Street
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807

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