Wiley College A Cappella Choir to Perform in Camden County
The 2008 film “The Great Debaters,” has cast worldwide attention on Wiley College, located in Marshall, Texas. Its rich tradition of singers and composers dating back to the 1800’s has given birth to the Wiley College A Cappella Choir. On March 26 the choir will give two concerts in Camden County.
The first concert begins at 2:00 p.m. at Collingswood Manor, 460 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood. Hosted by United Methodist Homes, renowned for excellence in senior living, Collingswood Manor is one of ten senior communities operated by the nonprofit organization.
The second concert, hosted by the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, will be performed at 7:00 p.m. at the Lawnside Public School, 426 East Charleston Avenue, Lawnside. Mt. Zion, led by Rev. Douglas A. Goldsborough, Sr., is the oldest African American Methodist congregation in the area in continuous connection with the United Methodist Church.
The general public is invited to attend the concerts free of admission. The musical repertoire is expected to feature a diverse program highlighting European composers, traditional Negro spirituals and contemporary gospel.
The concerts will be conducted by Mr. Stephen L. Hayes, director of music and visiting lecturer at Wiley College. For a quarter century, his talent and commitment to education and civic activity has promoted culture in the great Historically Black College and University choral tradition. Hayes made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in 1999; his choirs have presented concerts at Yale University, UMASS-Amherst, and Mt. Holyoke College; and he has prepared or conducted choirs to sing with many celebrities.
Dr. JuYeon Julia Lee, professor of music, organist and pianist will accompany the choir. She performs as a soloist and a collaborative pianist throughout the United States and Asia. As an assistant professor of music at Wiley College, she teaches keyboard and music theory and specializes in church music.
From the school’s founding, the role of music was integral to its continued growth and success. Historical documents reveal the first group of singers, The Wiley Jubilee Singers, was organized in 1897 by R.E. Brown. Wiley College has been a center of learning for African Americans and other minorities for 137 years.
Wiley College is one of eleven historically black colleges and universities affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1873 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church; it is the oldest, continuously operating accredited, historically black college west of the Mississippi River.