This stellar group of 46 students at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School has performed nationwide and around the world. Dr. Timothy M. Powell, the director of choral studies at Davidson, said the school's most talented, advanced choral students are "very highly educated, sophisticated and professional."
When Powell joined Davidson three years ago, he wanted to give his students the opportunity to gain professional experience. Each spring for the past three years, his students have recorded several songs for the album Perchance to Dream: The Davidson Chorale , an 11-track CD that was released this month.
They recorded the album in four-hour sessions for a total of 12 hours at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Augusta with SoundAround Audio from Fayetteville, Ga., he said.
"The kids have the ability to interpret, record, hear themselves back and create a product that is at a professional level," Powell said. "From a curriculum program standpoint, all of our fine arts disciplines train our students to be professionals. That's our goal long-term."
Three of the choir's members, also Advanced Placement art students, helped to create art work for the album cover, he said.
Perchance to Dream: The Davidson Chorale features the music of American composer Eric Whitacre and some contemporary choral composers. The CD is organized around themes of light, darkness, water and dreaming. All but one of the tracks are unaccompanied, and the album represents the best music the chorale has performed over the past three years.
The CD includes one of Powell's pieces, Mirabile Mysterium , he said.
Powell's goal is for The Davidson Chorale to release an album every three years, he said.
The Davidson Chorale performs regularly at prestigious events around the world. It recently performed with two-time Grammy Award-winner Joseph Jennings and Mormon Tabernacle Choir Director Mac Wilberg.
Last year, the chorale received a special invitation to sing the Easter Sunday service at St. Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, the home church of J.S. Bach.
On June 19, the chorale will perform the world premiere of Powell's newest work, Incarnatio Mysteria , which includes Mirabile Mysterium , at Lincoln Center, considered one of world's leading performing arts centers. The performance is presented by the Distinguished Concerts International New York.
Powell, a conductor and composer, received the invitation to debut his work at Lincoln Center after conducting the world premiere of his piece Wedding Mass at Carnegie Hall in 2008.
He has been writing Incarnatio Mysteria for the past two years. The 35-minute Advent piece is written in Latin and includes traditional text from the Catholic Church, portions of the Gospel of John and one line from the Gospel of Thomas, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, he said.
At Lincoln Center, the Davidson Chorale will be joined by the Men's and Women's Choruses at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, Columbia County Chorale Society and choirs from across the nation. The soprano soloist is Dr. Tina Stallard.
"In addition to the soprano soloist, it actually involves two child soloists, so two of our kids here are going to get to do their Lincoln Center stage debut as solos," Powell said.
Members of the community can still join the choir to perform in New York City if they attend rehearsals Tuesdays at First Baptist Church of Evans, he said.