HISTORY OF THE CHOIR
The Carolina Concert Choir began in 1979 as the Carolina Chamber Singers, a madrigal group of 12 voices. The group was under the direction of Dr. Robert Barrow, retired head of the Music Department at Williams College. From 1980 to 1996, the choir was directed by Beverly Ward, dean if the Western North Carolina chapter of the Guild of Organists. The group and performed classical and contemporary pieces, some composed by Ward. For the next six years the now Carolina Concert Choir was led by several guest conductors. In 2002, Bradford Gee was hired as Artistic Director/Conductor. He led the Choir until 2013. Under him aegis, the Choir performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009.
In 2013, Professor Lawrence Doebler became the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Choir. He had a rich and varied career as a choral conductor, teacher, clinician and organizer. He holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Washington University. He first taught and conducted at Smith College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Then, throughout his 35 years at Ithaca College, in addition to concert performances there, he led the Ithaca College Choral Union and Symphony Orchestra in concerts at the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and other major venues. During his five years with the Carolina Concert Choir, Professor Doebler led us with performances providing an eclectic repertoire of classical, popular, and unique compositions such as Carmina Burana. He took the choir to a performance of the Mozart Requiem at Carnegie Hall during May 2018.
Today, under the direction of our new Artistic Director and Conductor, Dr. Michael Lancaster, the Carolina Concert Choir is comprised of the highly capable voices of auditioned singers from Hendersonville, Asheville, Brevard and upstate South Carolina. Our repertoire continues with a varied mix from the classical choral and choral/symphonic literature and lighter fare, including many favorites at our concerts. The Carolina Concert Choir is proud to take its place along with Flat Rock Playhouse, the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra and local arts organizations in enriching the cultural environment of our community.
MEET THE TEAM
Conductor and Artistic Director
Dr. Lancaster received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree (Choral Music) from the University of Southern California. He has extensive academic experience including serving as Director of Choral Activities at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, Associate Professor of Choral and Vocal Music at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, and Director of Choral Activities at Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri), Warrensburg, MO. As a professional chorister/soloist, he has sung under the direction of many outstanding conductors, most notably Robert Shaw, in the Robert Shaw Institute of Music in southwestern France several summers as well as in the Robert Shaw Choral Institutes at Carnegie Hall, and Helmuth Rilling in the Oregon Bach Festival for many summers.
Dr. Lancaster serves as Music Director of the Asheville Symphony Chorus and the Asheville Symphony Chamber Chorus. In April 2016 he conducted the Asheville (NC) Symphony Orchestra & Chorus in a performance of Haydn: Nelson Mass on the Masterworks Series. He is also Director of Worship and Music at the First Presbyterian Church of Highlands, Highlands, NC, where he conducts the Chancel Choir and the Sacred Sounds Bell Choir.
Dr. Vance Reese has had a long-time association with Christ School as chapel organist, with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra as co-principal double bassist; Asheville Lyric Opera in various capacities, and area colleges as an accompanist and teacher. Over his nearly twenty years in the area, he has served as organist and choir director in various churches and at Congregation Beth Ha Tephila where he has been the chief cantor for the High Holidays of the past three years. You may have also seen him as music director/pianist for various musical theater/opera productions. He earned his doctorate in music at Indiana University. He lives in Westwood Cohousing Community with his wife, Jean, and son, Jonathan."