HC music professors to highlight performance of Handel’s Messiah

Huntington, Ind.— Huntington College music professors will serve as vocal soloists for the annual community performance of Handel’s Messiah, on Sunday, November 24, 2002. The performance, held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Huntington, will feature Dr. George Killian, choral education and choir director, as conductor. Featured soloists include Joni Killian, soprano; Dr. Janice Fulbright, alto; Ben Kendall, tenor; and John Thompson, bass. The HC Concert Choir and Orchestra will join with the Community Festival Chorus for the 48th annual presentation of the most beloved of all sacred choral works. Members of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic will serve as orchestra principles.

Dr. Fulbright has sung extensively throughout Europe, including the Opera Houses of Dortmund, Cologne, Vienna, Aachen, Detmold, Bielefeldt, Linz, Mainz, Bern, Zurich, Lucca, Venice, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Marseilles, Lyon, and London. She is best known for her operatic character roles, 50 in her repertory, and for her work in musical theatre and oratorio, with over 100 roles to her credit. She has been a regular contralto soloist with such orchestras as Philadelphia, Manhattan, Richmond, Nashville, Toledo, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Dallas. Dr. Fulbright especially enjoys Gilbert and Sullivan and has appeared in all 10 of the G & S, alto character roles with the Southeastern Savoyards, the New D’Oily Carte Company, the English National Opera, and the American Savoyards. Her film debut was as “Baba” in The Medium by Menotti for National Public Television. She was named the National First Place Winner of the 1989 American Opera Auditions, appeared with the Columbia Artists Texas Opera Theatre National Tour in 1990, and was presented in a New York recital by the International Wagner Society in June of 1990, being named the “Rising Young Wagnerian Artist of the Year”. Dr. Fulbright sang in the Wagner Summer Festival in Bayreuth and is listed on the International Artist Compendium of the Wagner Society. Her American orchestral debut was under the baton of Maestro Eric Leinsdorf with the Philadelphia Orchestra in a 1983 performance of Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody. Her New York Lincoln Center debut was in the Beethoven Ninth Symphony in May of 1988. Her dissertation on the choral/orchestral works of Puccini was published in 1990 and the year before she was named a Goethe International Fellow. She has been teaching in the fields of Voice Performance, Opera/Music Theatre, Languages, Choral Music, Conducting, and Musicology for over 25 years and has directed and conducted Opera and Musical Theatre Productions throughout the United States. Dr. Fulbright is currently Head of the Music Department at Huntington College and Pastor of Lagro United Methodist Church.

George W. Killian, Jr. is a native of Alexandria, Indiana. He was a regular soloist with the Phoenix Bach Choir. He also appeared with the Phoenix Boys Choir and the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Killian was the tenor soloist for the premiere performance of James DeMars’ American Requiem, which was performed by the Arizona State University Concert Choir and University Choir, and members of the Phoenix Symphony. Dr. Killian appeared as tenor soloist with the Arizona State University Orchestra, Choral Union, and Concert Choir for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Hodie. Twice, Dr. Killian placed in the Regional Auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Dr. Killian traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe with the Anderson University Chorale. While at Ball State University, he was a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Choral Conducting. While at Arizona State University, he was the conductor of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and taught the Beginning Choral Conducting class. Dr. Killian was the Director of Vocal Music at Casa Grande Union High School in Casa Grande, Arizona for seven years.

Joni Camille Killian, lyric soprano, is a native of Columbia City, Indiana. While attending Arizona State University, Ms. Killian received such honors as the Fine Arts Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, Concert of Soloists winner, winner of the San Francisco Merola Auditions in Arizona, and First Place in the Arizona NATS competition for Graduate Women. Her opera roles include “Baby Doe” in The Ballad of Baby Doe, “Celidora” in Loco del Cairo, and she has performed such musical theatre roles as “Maria” in Westside Story and “Hodel” in Fiddler on the Roof. She was the soprano soloist in the Arizona premiere of James DeMars’ An American Requiem. She made her Canadian debut with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and Orchestra as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem. She has performed the soprano solos in such works as the Brahm’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, the Fauré Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity, the Vivaldi Gloria and Jean Belmont’s Electa. Most recently she premiered the American performances of Langaard’s The End of Time, and Michael Haydn’s Missa Sancti Josephi. She was a member of the Phoenix Bach Choir from 1993 to 2001. She was the Director of the Music Program at Arizona College of the Bible and Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Vocal Studies at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ, before coming to HC. Ms. Killian continues to perform professionally throughout the United States.

John Thompson is currently ABD towards a Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree in Voice Performance at The University of Memphis. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree in Music from New Mexico State University. John was a member of the Doña Ana Lyric Opera and performed the roles of “Don Basilio” in The Barber of Seville; “Dr. Blind” in Die Fledermaus; “Escamillo” in Carmen; “Baritone” in Sweeney Todd; “Marcello” in La Boheme; “Leporello” in Don Giovanni; “Germont” in La Traviata; “Tartuffe” in Tartuffe; and “Ford” in Falstaff. John was also a member of the Gilbert and Sullivan Players, performing the roles of “Sir Despard Murgatroyd” in Ruddigore; “Colonel Calverly” in Patience; “Pooh-Bah” in the Mikado; and the “Sergeant of Police” in The Pirates of Penzance. At the University of Memphis, John appeared as “Antonio” in The Marriage of Figaro, “Eduardo” in Roman Fever, “Morales” in Carmen, “Guglielmo” in Cosi fan futte, “Mat o’ the Mint” in The Beggar’s Opera, and “John Sorel” in The Consul. Since joining the faculty at Huntington College, John has appeared as a soloist in the Faculty Showcase Recital and the Lord Nelson Mass, and will be the bass soloist in the upcoming production of The Messiah. In addition to serving as faculty at Huntington College, John also serves as the Worship Coordinator at Bible Baptist Church.

Benjamin Kendall comes from Branson, Missouri where he grew up in the Ozark Hills entertainment industry. His main involvement there was as the first tenor in a Barbershop Quartet, Perfect Fourth, for two years. While being a performer he was earning his Bachelor of Music in Education from Southwest Baptist University. He then went on to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas to receive the Master of Music in Conducting while serving as Associate Minister of Music at First Baptist, McKinney, Texas. Since then he has been a missionary to Spain where he was the music leader for the 2001 Spanish National Youth Convention. He is currently serving the Music Department of Huntington College teaching Applied Voice and Voice Class, Worship Ensemble, Orchestra and is the staff accompanist. This past summer he began his involvement with the Pulse Opera House in Warren, Indiana. This semester he was a sol artist in 10 concerts in the country of Norway, and performed as the tenor soloist in the Nelson Mass in D minor by Haydn.

Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. US News & World Report ranks Huntington among the Top 10 comprehensive colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana.

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Heather Barkley
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