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Allen Symphony Chorus presents "Soulful Christmas" at FUMC, Dec. 7th




December 7th, 2018 at 7:00 PM – First United Methodist Church Allen – 601 S Greenville Ave, Allen, Texas 75002

It is a concert of Christmas selections using multiple genres of African American Music  The Allen Symphony Chorus will be partnering with area African American congregations in this performance.

“Soulful Christmas” will feature a major choral work call “Gospel Mass”. It is an appropriate work for the season that is written by Robert Ray, an African American composer, conductor, pianist and teacher.  Allen Symphony Chorus is singing with the choir from Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for a combined chorus of over 100 voices and will be accompanied by an instrumental combo.  Shiloh’s director is also a distinguished conductor, composer, pianist, accompanist, organist, teacher and artist is his own right.  His name is Victor Johnson and he has over 200 compositions in print! Victor recently directed “Gospel Mass” for a combined chorus from all the high schools in Garland,Texas and will conduct the “Gospel Mass”.

The program will include selections such as the Whitney Houston version of “Joy to the World” from The Preacher’s Wife”, “Now,  Behold the Lamb”, “Worship the One”, “Mary Did You Know” and the ever popular and familiar Christmas Carol sing-a-long.

We will be singing two versions of the Hallelujah Chorus by Handel.  One is traditional and the other is from the work/CD “Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration”.

As a bonus, we will present two original compositions by Victor Johnson for Christmas “Christ Came to Bethlehem” and “Run to the Manger”.

You will enjoy a new exciting work, hear some familiar and unfamiliar music for the season, hear some original compositions from Victor and enjoy the combined choirs of Allen Symphony Chorus and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, an instrumental ensemble, with Chris Brunt, our accompanist and Rusty King, the conductor.

Dr. Ray received his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Northwestern University. He has appeared as piano soloist with the Kirkwood Symphony Orchestra, Northwestern University Orchestra, Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and Seoul (Korea) Philharmonic Orchestra. He came to the University of Missouri – St. Louis from the University of Illinois, Urbana, where he served as accompanist coach for the Strings Department and established the Black Student Chorus.

Choruses under his direction have appeared in concert with Ossie Davis, Max Roach, the late James Cleveland, Edwin Hawkins, and many other recording artists. Professor Ray has served as the Repertoire and Standards Chair for Ethnic Music and Multi-Cultural Prospectives for the American Choral Directors Association (Southwestern Division) and has appeared as a lecturer and clinician at numerous universities and colleges, as well as MENC, ACDA, and IAJA conventions. He is the composer of Gospel Mass and other works published by Hal Leonard. Recently, he conducted the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in A Gospel Christmas, where the orchestra version of his Gospel Magnificat was premiered.

Professor Ray served as accompanist for singers William Warfield and Robert McFerrin and is in frequent demand as a speaker, adjudicator, and guest conductor. In 1997, Professor Ray served as guest conductor for the Europa Cantat in Linz, Austria, and in July 2000 he conducted the European Youth Choir for a two week concert tour.

Victor is a native of Dallas, Texas.  He worked for 17 years teaching at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts during which time he was director of the Children’s Choir of Texas. Victor attended the University of Texas at Arlington where he majored in music education with a concentration in organ. While attending UTA, he served as student conductor of the university’s choral ensembles and opera workshop accompanist. He was also honored with the awards of “Outstanding Music Freshman” in 1997 and also “Outstanding Musician” in 2001.

As a composer, Victor has won numerous composition contests and has received ASCAP Awards for the past 12 years. His first piece was published in 1994, while he was a sophomore in high school. To date, he has over 200 octavos and choral products in the catalogs of Heritage Music Press, The Lorenz Corporation, Chorister’s Guild, SoundForth, and Hal Leonard Corporation.

Victor has led reading sessions and choral workshops in numerous states and has conducted All-State and Regional Honor choirs in Texas, California, Oklahoma, Kansas and Kentucky. His own choir was selected to perform at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in 2011.

His professional affiliations include: American Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, ASCAP, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Inc.

Tickets are priced at $25 for Adults; $20 for Seniors; and $15 for Students and can be ordered online or by phone at 972.359.0656.

Tickets available at: https://allenphilharmonic.org/concerts-tickets/upcoming-events/