IWU Chapel to Host Faculty Concert of African-American Songs

October 4, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University’s Chaplain’s Office and the Evelyn Chapel Advisory Board will welcome Carren D. Moham, associate professor of voice at IWU, and Michael Lester, minister of music and arts at Peace Lutheran Church and instructor of piano and voice at Otterbein College, Columbus, Ohio, to the University’s weekly chapel hour on Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. in Evelyn Chapel (1301 Park St., Bloomington).

Accompanied by Lester on piano, Moham, a soprano, will present two cycles of songs by African-American composers.

The first cycle on the program, Five Songs of Laurence Hope, was composed by Harry T. Burleigh, who, in the early part of the 20th century, was the first composer to notate spirituals so they could be performed on stage.  The five songs are based on the poetry of Adela Florence Cory, who wrote under the pseudonym Laurence Hope in the late 19th century. 

John Carter who, in 1968, was appointed composer-in-residence for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., composed Cantata, the second song cycle to be performed, by adapting several Negro spirituals into a five-movement suite for voice and piano.

Moham, who received her doctoral degree in 1997 from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, centered her research there on vocal pedagogy and black music studies, subjects she continues to pursue at Illinois Wesleyan. 

Before joining the music faculty at IWU, Moham performed professionally with major opera companies and symphony orchestras both in the United States and abroad and won a number of vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and the Leontyne Price Vocal Competition.  In 2002, she released a compact disc, Sonnets on Love, Rosebuds and Death: Songs by African American Women, which also featu res piano accompaniment by Lester.

For more information, contact the Illinois Wesleyan School of Music at (309) 556-3061

 Contact: Rebecca Welzenbach or Meg Dubuque, (309) 556-3181