While the school year kicks into overdrive with end-of-year activities, students in Teresa Rhyne’s select girls’ choral class will have a rare opportunity: they will perform the world-premiere performance of a new work by internationally known, local composer Rosephanye Powell. The piece, “When I Sing”, was written as the eighth piece for ChoralQuest®, a series of music for middle-school choirs published by the American Composers Forum (ACF). The series is designed to place world-class choral composers in the middle-school classroom at no cost to the schools.

This winter, composer Rosephanye Powell began a residency at Auburn Junior High School in Auburn, Alabama. The school’s choir teacher, Teresa Rhyne, worked with Dr. Powell to engage the students in the composition process and introduce them to the composer and her work. This experience also gave choral students at Auburn Junior High School the rare opportunity to get to know a composer, to interact with Dr. Powell and learn about writing music from a living composer. On the experience, Teresa Rhyne said, “The AJHS Elites is a group that has a special musical camaraderie.  It’s been a joy to see the students work together to contribute to Dr. Powell’s composition and come to understand that “When I Sing” belongs to them – it’s their song.”

The premiere performance of “When I Sing” will take place at Auburn Junior High School’s Spring Choir Concert and Show at 6:30pm on May 9, 2017 at Auburn High School (405 S Dean Rd, Auburn, Alabama 36830). To guarantee that this experience is free for Auburn Junior High choir students, ACF received funding support from Alfred and Ann Moore and by other individual donors.

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About Composer Dr. Rosephanye Powell

Dr. Rosephanye Powell has been hailed as one of America’s premier women composers of choral music. Dr. Powell serves as Charles W. Barkley Endowed Professor and Professor of Voice at Auburn University.  Recent commission and premiere highlights include: Friendship composed in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus; What Shall I Come (SATB), composed for the St. Olaf Choir 2015 Winter Tour in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Dr. Anton Armstrong, conductor, and premiered at Carnegie Hall, (Feb. 2015).

Dr. Powell travels the country and internationally serving as a workshop clinician, conductor, and adjudicator for solo vocal competitions/auditions, honor choirs, choral workshops and festivals. Recent commitments include the Oklahoma MEA All-State High School Women’s Choir, conductor; Kansas MEA All-State High School Women’s Choir, conductor;  Festival Disney Choral Festival, clinician and adjudicator;  North Carolina MEA Professional Development Conference (presenter) and High School SATB Honor Choir (conductor); Melbourne International Singers Festival (AUS), conductor-composer-in-residence; Georgia All-State Chorus, Senior Women Chorus, conductor; the New York State School Music Association (Rochester), presenter; the Georgia Music Educators Association Conference (Savannah), presenter; the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association Treble Honor Choir (Nashville), conductor; the World Choir Games (Cincinnati, OH), adjudicator; the Italian Feder Gospel Choirs Workshop (Milan, Italy), conductor-composer-in-residence.

She holds degrees from The Florida State University, Westminster Choir College, and Alabama State University. Dr. Powell served on the faculties of Philander Smith College (AR) and Georgia Southern University prior to Auburn University.


About ChoralQuest® and American Composers Forum

ChoralQuest is a music series for middle-level choir, written especially for middle-level choirs by world-class composers. The series is designed to breathe new life into the available repertoire for choral students in middle school and junior high, introduce students to the composition process, and give commissioned composers the unique opportunity and challenge of writing new works for young, changing voices. Thus far, the series includes new works by composers René Clausen, Rollo Dilworth, Jennifer Higdon, Stephen Paulus, Alice Parker, Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, and Chen Yi.

Based on the success of ACF’s decade-long BandQuest® program, the composers selected for ChoralQuest partner with a middle school in their area. Composers will visit rehearsals and engage with the students before composing a piece specifically for them. These pieces are published by ACF and distributed exclusively by the Hal Leonard Corporation, the world’s largest music retailer.
For more information, contact Laura Krider at lkrider@composersforum.org.
Download the ChoralQuest press release here.