Music professors highlight performance of Messiah

FOR RELEASE
2003-11-21
Huntington, Ind.— Huntington College music professors will serve as vocal soloists for the annual community performance of Handel’s Messiah, on Sunday, December 7, 2003. The performance, held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Huntington, will feature Dr. George Killian, choral education and choir director, as conductor. Featured soloists include Joni Killian, soprano; Dr. Janice Fulbright, alto; Ben Kendall, tenor; and Dr. John Thompson, bass. The HC Concert Choir and Orchestra will join with the Community Festival Chorus for the 49th annual presentation of the most beloved of all sacred choral works. Members of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic will serve as orchestra principles.

The public is cordially invited to attend the concert, starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Dr. George W. Killian, Jr., a native of Alexandria, Ind., was a regular soloist with the Phoenix Bach Choir, appearing with the Phoenix Boys Choir and the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. Killian was the tenor soloist for the premiere performance of James DeMars’ American Requiem, which was performed by the Arizona State University Concert Choir and University Choir, and members of the Phoenix Symphony. Killian appeared as tenor soloist with the Arizona State University Orchestra, Choral Union and Concert Choir for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Hodie. Twice, he placed in the regional auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. While at Ball State University, he was a graduate teaching assistant in Choral Conducting. While at Arizona State University, he was the conductor of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and taught the Beginning Choral Conducting class. Killian was the director of vocal music at Casa Grande Union High School in Casa Grande, Ariz., for seven years.

Dr. Janice Fulbright has sung extensively throughout Europe and North America. She is best known for her operatic character roles, 50 in her repertory, and for her work in musical theatre and oratorio, with over 100 roles to her credit. She has been a regular contralto soloist with such orchestras as Philadelphia, Manhattan, Richmond, Nashville, Toledo, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Dallas. She was named the National First Place Winner of the 1989 American Opera Auditions, appeared with the Columbia Artists Texas Opera Theatre National Tour in 1990, and was presented in a New York recital by the International Wagner Society in June of 1990, being named the “Rising Young Wagnerian Artist of the Year.” Dr. Fulbright sang in the Wagner Summer Festival in Bayreuth and is listed on the International Artist Compendium of the Wagner Society. Her dissertation on the choral/orchestral works of Puccini was published in 1990, and the year before she was named a Goethe International Fellow. She has been teaching in the fields of voice performance, opera/music theatre, languages, choral music, conducting, and musicology for over 25 years and has directed and conducted opera and musical theatre productions throughout the United States. Fulbright currently chairs the music department at Huntington College and is the pastor of Lagro United Methodist Church.

Ms. Joni Camille Killian is a native of Columbia City, Ind. While attending Arizona State University, Killian received such honors as the Fine Arts Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, Concert of Soloists winner, winner of the San Francisco Merola Auditions in Arizona, and first place in the Arizona NATS competition for Graduate Women. Her opera roles include “Baby Doe” in The Ballad of Baby Doe, “Celidora” in Loco del Cairo, and she has performed such musical theatre roles as “Maria” in Westside Story and “Hodel” in Fiddler on the Roof. She was the soprano soloist in the Arizona premiere of James DeMars’ An American Requiem. She has performed the soprano solos in such works as Brahm’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Fauré Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity, Vivaldi Gloria and Jean Belmont’s Electa. Most recently, she premiered in the American performances of Langaard’s The End of Time and Michael Haydn’s Missa Sancti Josephi. She was a member of the Phoenix Bach Choir from 1993 to 2001. She was the Director of the Music Program at Arizona College of the Bible and Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Vocal Studies at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz., before coming to HC.

Dr. John Thompson holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance from the University of Memphis and a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from New Mexico State University. While at the University of Memphis, Thompson appeared in The Consul, The Beggar’s Opera, Cosi fan tutte, Carmen, Roman Fever and The Marriage of Figaro. He also served as the Minister of Music at National Avenue Baptist Church in Memphis. While at NMSU, Thompson was a member of the Doña Ana Lyric Opera and performed as a member of the Gilbert and Sullivan Players, among many other productions. In addition to his performances within the United States, Thompson has appeared as a soloist in Germany and Romania. He has also appeared as a choral clinician in Romania, and will serve in that capacity again this summer. He currently serves as instructor of voice at Huntington College and is the worship coordinator at Bible Baptist Church.

Mr. Benjamin Kendall comes from Branson, Mo., where he grew up in the Ozark Hills entertainment industry. His main involvement there was as the first tenor in a Barbershop Quartet, Perfect Fourth, for two years. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Education from Southwest Baptist University and then went on to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, to receive the Master of Music in Conducting while serving as associate minister of music at First Baptist, McKinney, Texas. Since then, he has served as a missionary to Spain where he was the music leader for the 2001 Spanish National Youth Convention. He currently teaches Applied Voice and Voice Class, Worship Ensemble, Orchestra and is the staff accompanist at HC. This past summer he began his involvement with the Pulse Opera House in Warren, Ind. He was a sol artist in 10 concerts in the country of Norway, and performed as the tenor soloist in the Nelson Mass in D minor by Haydn.

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Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana. The College is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).
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