Friday, May 7, 2010


The Shores at Wesley Manor hosted a concert featuring the world-renowned voices of the Wiley College A Cappella Choir in March. The tour was their first ever on the east coast. Wiley, located in Marshall, Texas, gained worldwide attention with the filming and release of The Great Debaters, which resulted in the choir receiving film credit and CD soundtrack credit for music research on the film.

Dr. James Batten, member of the Wiley College board of trustees and president of United Methodist Homes reflected, "I am proud to introduce and welcome these very talented students to The Shores and the Ocean City, New Jersey community."

The choir delivered an electrifying and moving concert conducted by Director of Music and Visiting Lecturer, Mr. Stephen L. Hayes. Mr. Hayes has conducted at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and The JFK Center for the Performing Arts.

The choir tour included concerts in Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, and East Tennessee. Prior to its concert in The Shores' Town Hall, the 28-voice choir performed three pieces in the Rotunda of the skilled nursing residence. Heaven came down—what a sound they made!

The musical repertoire for the tour included a diverse program which highlighted European composers, traditional Negro spirituals, show tunes and contemporary gospel. Mr. Hayes revealed the background on each Negro spiritual, including their origins in the churches and camp meetings in rural Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

Two special music presentations, introduced specifically for this tour, featured two of Wiley's very own internationally acclaimed composers: Mr. Edward Hammond Boatner, Dean of the Music Department during the 1930's, and Dr. Frederick C. Tillis, a 1956 graduate and former faculty member.

The concert ended with the Battle Hymn of the Republic, accompanied by Assistant Professor of Music Dr. JuYeon Julia Lee on the piano. She has performed widely as a soloist and accompanist in North America and Korea for the past 18 years.

The Wiley College A Cappella Choir has a rich history of singers and composers dating back to the 1800’s. Historical documents reveal the first group of singers, The Wiley Jubilee Singers, was organized in 1897 by R.E. Brown. Wiley College has been a center of learning for African Americans and other minorities for 137 years. Increasingly, students of other races, as well as international students, are finding Wiley an attractive place to acquire a college education.

The college is strongly affiliated with The United Methodist Church. Founded in 1873 by the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church; it is the oldest, continuously operating accredited, historically black college west of the Mississippi River.

Released On: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 Wiley College Public Relations 903-927-3201

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