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The Choir of the College of William & Mary

The Choir of the College of William and Mary, under the direction of James Armstrong, will undertake its annual spring tour March 17-22, 2017. The Choir will give its first concert in Virginia Beach in its home state followed by appearances in Dagsboro, Oxford and Ellicott City in Maryland and Washington, DC. (For full itinerary with concert locations and times see  http://www.choir.blogs.wm.edu)  The program will feature J.S. Bach’s double choir motet Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf  (BWV 226) as well as the premier of Wings of Peace and Love commissioned by the Daniel Eric Helms New Music Program from Prof. Mokale Koapeng (University of Witwatersrand, South Africa) for the William and Mary Choir in anticipation of its tour to South Africa in May of 2017. Additional works by South African composers J. P. Mohapeloa, M. M. Moerane and Daniel P. Kunene will be complemented by African American spirituals arranged by Roy Belfield, Phillip McIntyre, and Hall Johnson as well as compositions by the Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo and Estonian composer Pärt Uusberg. Admission is free and open to the public. 

The Choir

Celebrating 94 years since its founding, the Choir of the College of William & Mary continues to appear regularly both in the United States and abroad.  The Choir has had the honor of performing twice for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II—most recently in 2007—and was one of four choirs invited to perform in concert with the United States Marine Band at the 1997 Presidential Inaugural on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C.  In February 2012, the Choir sang for the investiture of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as William and Mary’s new chancellor.  The Choir has toured internationally every third year since 1978 and is looking forward to a tour of South Africa in May of 2017.  Recent tours have taken the Choir to Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Spain, Morocco, Greece and Turkey.  The Choir has released four recordings: Joseph Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, and a recording featuring Bach’s motet Jesu, meine Freude (BWV 227) and the premier performance of Adolphus Hailstork’s Triumph in My Song (2001).  These recordings are available for purchase through the Choir’s website http://www.choir.blogs.wm.edu.

The Conductor

James Armstrong, Jr., Director of Choirs and Associate Professor of Music, received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied conducting and voice with Robert Fountain.  Before coming to the College of William and Mary, Professor Armstrong held faculty appointments at Mount Holyoke College, Vassar College, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests range from eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Central European sacred music to historically-informed performance and the African American spiritual. At present he is compiling a thematic catalog of the complete Esterházy sacred music collection, which is housed today partly in Eisenstadt, Austria and partly in Budapest, Hungary. Recent publications include a seminal article on music at the court of Nicolaus II Esterházy, which appeared in connection with an exhibition in Compiègne, France devoted to Nicolaus as a patron of the arts in Europe; Professor Armstrong also contributed an article that appeared in the catalog of the international bicentennial exhibition in Eisenstadt, Austria commemorating the death of Joseph Haydn. Professor Armstrong is active as both a clinician and an adjudicator.