The Lake Charles Messiah Chorus and Orchestra will present a holiday tradition here in Southwest Louisiana with the 80th performance of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” at
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, in historic F.G. Bulber Auditorium at McNeese State University.
The tradition began in 1940 when a new young college teacher – Dr. Francis G. Bulber -conducted the first performance of the “Messiah” in the Auditorium of what was then John McNeese Junior College. Bulber was inspired to bring local church choirs together along with students from McNeese to make this an annual event. The current director is Bulber’s daughter, Colette Bulber Tanner and the late conductor’s wife, Pat Cavell Bulber, will be singing in the chorus.
This year, seven McNeese students from the W.A. and Dorothy Hanna Department of Performing Arts and two McNeese graduates will be featured as soloists: Whitney Chaumont, soprano, Crystal Quest Gray, soprano, Rebecca Harris, soprano, Isabella Rodriguez, mezzo-soprano, Aaron Tanner, tenor, Jacob Voisin, tenor, and Rachel Walls, mezzo-soprano, students; and Camryn Miller Clements and MaryKate F. Core, mezzo-sopranos, graduates.
Chaumont is a Lake Charles freshman majoring in vocal music education. She was involved in choir and theater at Barbe High School, performed a principal role in “Hairspray Jr.” and the lead role as Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde Jr.” and also participated in District 5 Honor Chorus. She is a member of the McNeese Chamber Singers choir.
Gray is a Moss Bluff sophomore majoring in vocal music education. She is a member of both McNeese’s Chorale and Chamber Singers. Before moving to Louisiana from Maryland, Gray was a member of the All-County Chorus (district honor choir) from elementary school to high school.
Harris is a Leesville senior majoring in vocal music education. She is a member of both the Chamber Singers and Chorale choirs. After graduation, Harris plans to pursue a master’s degree in music education with a specialization in Kodály.
Rodriguez is a Lumberton, Texas, senior education major with a concentration in vocal and choral music. She is a member of the McNeese Chamber Singers and is president of McNeese’s Beta Chi chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity. This is her second year as a soloist for “Messiah.”
Tanner – the grandson of Dr. Bulber – is a Lake Charles senior majoring in vocal music education. He is a member of the McNeese Concert Chorale and Chamber Singers and had a lead role in McNeese’s production of “The Autism/Asperger’s Project.” This is Tanner’s seventh year performing in the Messiah Chorus.
Voisin is a Lake Charles senior majoring in both instrumental and vocal music education. At McNeese, he is a member of the McNeese Chamber Singers, the Jazz Ensemble, the Alphorn Ensemble and the Pride of McNeese Cowboy Marching Band and is the principal trombonist for the McNeese Wind Symphony.
Walls is an El Paso, Texas, senior majoring in vocal music education. At McNeese, she is a member of the McNeese Chamber Choir and performed in “Messiah” in 2019. After graduation, Walls plans on attending graduate school to obtain her degree in vocal performance and pedagogy.
Clements, a McNeese music education graduate, currently teaches choir and music/piano at S.J. Welsh Middle School in Lake Charles. She has taught Suzuki Music Theory through the Hurley School of Music and spent years teaching award-winning middle school choirs in northwest Louisiana, where she was awarded “Rookie Teacher of the Year” in 2016 and the “Distinguished Service Award” in 2017 from the Caddo Parish School Board and was nominated as “Teacher of the Year” in 2018.
Core, a 2020 vocal performance graduate, is currently assistant director of music ministry at First United Methodist Church in Lake Charles. At McNeese, she was a member of the Chamber Singers and Women’s Ensemble and a soloist in a concert of Melissa Dunphy’s works, Carole King’s songs and Haydn’s “Nelson Mass.” She also had roles in the productions of “Kiss Me, Kate” and “Songs for a New World.” Core is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in musicology at Louisiana State University. This is her second year as a soloist for the “Messiah.”
Persons needing accommodations as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the ADA Coordinator at 337-475-5428, voice; 337-475-5960, fax; 337-562-4227, TDD/TTY, hearing impaired; or by email at email@example.com.
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