Distinguished as a composer, conductor, and pianist, Roland Carter is the Ruth S. Holmberg Professor of American Music in the Department of Music at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He formerly chaired Hampton (Institute) University's department of music and conducted its internationally acclaimed choirs for nearly a quarter of a century. His accomplishments as a leading figure in the choral arts include concerts with major choruses and orchestras in prestigious venues nationwide, as well as lectures, workshops, and master classes. Carter is most especially noted as an authority on the performance and preservation of African American music, having produced and appeared on programs for national and international radio and television networks in support of these aims. Carter is an unquestionably gifted composer-arranger. His compositions and arrangements are performed by music organizations throughout the world. Almost all of his works are published by MAR-VEL, a publisher specializing in music by African American composers and traditions of which he is founder and CEO.
J. Kevin Ford, the University of Chattanooga Foundation Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and conducts the UTC Chamber Singers, Chattanooga Singers and the Master Chorale. In addition, he is the Director of Music for the historic Second Presbyterian Church in downtown Chattanooga. Dr. Ford has previously served on the faculties of SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has directed choruses in performances at state music education association and American Choral Directors Association conferences. He has guest conducted and adjudicated throughout the eastern U.S., Canada, and has recently guest conducted the chorus from the University of Vienna, Austria.
In 1886 the Methodist Episcopal Church, North founded a university in Chattanooga Tennessee. One of the first seven faculty members was an instructor of music and music remained at the heart of the private University of Chattanooga as it grew and was eventually merged with the University of Tennessee system in 1968. The Music Department is one of the largest departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and has been a member of the National Association of Schools of Music since 1933. With the merger and name change the University of Chattanooga Choir became the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chamber Singers. It is now the most select chorus of the five choruses in the Music Department and is the main touring chorus for the University, maintaining an active state-wide, U.S. and international touring schedule. They actively premiere new works for chorus including recent premieres of works by Dave Brubeck and Boston composer Jonathan Bailey Holland, among others.
All of the recordings on this disc were prepared by Kevin Ford, and then the final recording sessions were either conducted by or supervised by the composer. The CD liner notes contain an extensive essay by the composer describing his approach to the style of the spiritual and composition process. Recordings were made in Cadek Recital Hall at UTC and were recorded and edited in 24-bit by Kevin Ford. The final mastering was done by Dana Harding of Harding Productions in Chattanooga.