AUBURN, Ala. —
Americus native William Powell will return to his hometown as director of the Auburn University Chamber and Gospel choirs Saturday. The Rylander Theatre presents the Auburn University choirs for a concert featuring the Chamber and Gospel Choirs, under Powell’s direction along with the Auburn Singers Show Choir under the direction of Dale Farmer, the second director of the Americus High Singers.
Powell was interviewed recently by the Times-Recorder when he talked about discovering his love for music at an early age. He says his first involvement in music was around age six or seven, “plunking out tunes” on his godmother’s upright piano. His godmother, Frieda Thomas took notice of Powell’s interest in music and encouraged his mother help develop his interest. Unable to afford a piano at the time, the Powell’s bought their son a chord organ. Between that and the piano at Big Bethel Baptist Church, Powell taught himself some rudimentary techniques and from there, things seemed to fall in place.
“I had a lot of encouragement from my church,” Powell said, pointing out that there was not much in the way of music lessons in the community, but he was determined to learn what he could.
He became more involved in music as a public school student, picking up the clarinet. His parents noticed that he had taken a serious interest in music and got a piano for him. He could now take lessons. His involvement in the church choir also had a great impact during his formative years. He and friend Al Brown established the Americus Interdenominational Youth Choir during this time.
“It was a major growing experience for me,” said Powell, who took his passion for music to college at Alabama State University where he continued to grow musically. A professor, Kate Pace, took a special interest in Powell and his interest in piano. “The Lord directed me to the perfect teacher for me. She took me in,” Powell said.
Pace caught Powell up to where he needed to be to graduate as a piano major. “I was not even playing at an intermediate level,” he said. “By graduation I was playing heavy duty stuff.”
It was Pace who told Powell to consider becoming a choral director even though he still had intentions being a musician. “I was trying to figure out what to do,” Powell said. Pace asked if he had thought about being a choral director.
“I didn’t even know I could get a degree in that,” he said.
His passion for music led him to a rewarding career, which he says is highlighted by the fact that he gets to do something that he felt called to do.
He remains enthralled with music and its power. In his work, Powell says he witnesses its power, seeing people transformed not only musically and professionally but spiritually.
At Saturday’s Program Powell says there will be something for everybody. The Chamber Choir performance will be highlighted by a Haitian born French-Creole composer and popular spiritual composer Paul Johnson.
The Gospel Choir will perform some “old school” and contemporary gospel will incorporate dance. The Auburn Singers contribution to the program will feature popular Broadway material. Powell says he finds the precision of the Singers’ choreography particularly impressive.
Powell, 50, says he returns to Americus frequently, though not as often as he likes, to visit his father, William and sister Vanessa and her children.
Auburn choirs perform at Rylander under direction of Americus native Willam Powell
AUBURN, Ala. —
- Local News
- Tourism project to capture Sumter’s rich history
- Homes for the Holidays
- Lifestyle pushes cancer rate up in South Georgia
- SGTC announces GOAL award semi-finalists
- Sing Gloria at First United Methodist Church, Americus
- Red Ribbon
- Photo of the Day: December 1, 2013
‘Blind Side,’ ‘Walking Dead’ actor coming to Rylander Theatre stage
IronE Singleton, an Atlanta-born actor, will be presenting his one-man stage production at 8 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Rylander Theatre, downtown. Singleton is best known for his roles in “The Walking Dead” television series and the Oscar Award-nominated film “The Blind Side.”
- Giant stocking up for grabs
GSW chemistry professor named 2013-2014 Featured Scholar
Nedialka Iordanova, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, was announced as Georgia Southwestern State University’s 2013-14 Featured Scholar today by President Kendall A. Blanchard, Ph.D.
The public is invited to join the GSW community at a reception honoring Iordanova at 4 p.m. Monday in the Rotunda of the Wheatley Administration Building.
- More Local News Headlines