by Jeffrey Carter

My comments of introduction this evening, leading to the performance by the Chamber Singers at Missouri Music Educators Association:

When I sang at MMEA in Jeff City in the early 1970s in a junior high honor choir led by Verna Brummett,

and two years later when I sang as part of the Lee’s Summit High School Boy’s Glee Club, conducted by Vance Riffie,

or the high school orchestra, performing on two consecutive days in 1977 at that old Ramada Inn . . . .

When I conducted a community choir here on a Saturday morning 21 years ago, and Carl Vun Cannon told the story of first meeting me while I worked at McDonald’s . . . .

Well, how little I knew then.

And how far from my mind was any thought of one day standing here to introduce my own colleagues and students on a university-night event.

But here we are, and you truly cannot imagine my delight in being able to rejoice with these folks from Webster University.

Music programs including vocal studies and music education at Webster University have been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music since 1952, well before we started our jazz program or took responsibility for the long-standing programs of the independent Community Music School, one of our partner departments in the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts.

Our jazz band played here in 2007, and tonight we witness the arrival of our choral program, now in its fourth year of leadership by Dr. Trent Patterson.

The Chamber Singers are a select group of undergrads and graduate students; many of them are music majors.  They are featured in the just-released DVD on the art and artistry of choral goddess Charlene Archibeque.

In just about seven weeks, they will perform as one of five university choirs selected to sing at the divisional ACDA convention in Little Rock.  This is a busy semester for them!

By the way,  12 of these choral scholars were all-state choir members when they were in high school.

Our featured soloist this evening, Martha Hart, joined us as voice professor three years ago.  With a thriving studio and numerous NATS winners this year, she also teaches vocal pedagogy and diction and is currently conducting a women’s chorus.

I’ve known Martha for more than two decades now.  She is one of the most wonderful mezzos of our time.  In fact, she sang this very same work – Copland’s In the beginning – as soloist with Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in France and at the 1993 ACDA national convention.

Dr. Trent Patterson, now in his fourth year as Director of Choral Studies and Music Education, has transformed our choral and music education programs.

Trent’s doctoral studies were with native Missourian David Rayl at Michigan State, where his dissertation on Charlene Archibeque has now become the basis for the DVD he managed and led.

Did I mention that the DVD is available at many booths downstairs?  It’s called ‘How to make a good choir great’ and it has a bright red cover….

Trent’s work as a school teacher, and now a university professor, is strengthened by his grace and humor, his commitment to excellence in all he does, his superior piano skills, and his ability to play the tuba.

And he is aided in that work by a fabulous soprano, his lovely wife Heather, who also serves on the voice faculty at Webster, and his nine-month-old son Benjamin, who sadly is at the hotel this evening.

Ladies and Gentlemen: on behalf of Beth Stroble, President of Webster University, and of Peter Sargent, Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts,

would you please welcome Martha J. Hart, Trent Patterson, and the Webster University Chamber Singers . . . .