CLEMSON — Justin Durham, Clemson University’s new director of choral activities, will make his conducting debut at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Durham will lead the university men’s and women’s glee and two other singing groups in a concert featuring a wide variety of choral works, including some holiday selections.

Durham, who is completing his first semester as head of the choral program, is looking forward to conducting on the Brooks Center stage for first time. 

“Both the students and I are excited to showcase what we’ve rehearsed all semester,” he said.

The Clemson University Women’s Glee is set to perform “Alleluia” written by Paul Basler. The work features percussion and French horn accompaniment. The women will sing an arrangement of Georg Philipp Telemann’s “I Want to Praise the Lord All of My Life,” and the tongue-in-cheek rendition of a Dear John letter called, “Dear John, Dear John (Punctuated by Love?).” 

“The song features two movements of identical text with completely different connotations based on where the choir places punctuation marks,” Durham said. “The first movement is ‘Spoken Adoringly’ and the second movement is ‘Spoken Bitterly.’”

During their portion of the program, the Clemson University Men’s Glee, the university’s oldest music organization, will sing standards from the men’s choir repertoire, including “Do You Fear the Wind?” by Leland B. Sateran; “The Morning Trumpet” arranged by Michael Richardson; and an all-male rendition of Aaron Copeland’s “Zion’s Walls.”

The men’s holiday selections include the familiar German song “O Tannenbaum” and “Oh! Christmas Tree???” a funny, arrangement with the traditional melody that pokes fun at the idea of singing to a Christmas tree. Preceding this arrangement, the men’s glee will sing the traditional version.

The men will perform an African holiday carol. “‘Betelehemu’ is a traditional Nigerian Christmas song with percussion,” Durham said.

Viva Voce, an a cappella choir that performs without conductor, will sing selections from the early vocal repertoire, including English motets by William Byrd and Thomas Tallis. The ensemble will sing Claudio Monteverdi’s “Si ch’io vorrei morire” (Yes, I would want to die), “Contre Qui Rose” (Against whom, Rose) by Morten Lauridsen, and “Sweet Singing Amarills” by Luca Marenzio. 

“These three selections showcase the development of the madrigal from its height during the Renaissance through today,” Durham said.

Viva Voce finishes its portion of the concert with the traditional African-American spiritual “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” by Moses Hogan, featuring four soloists.

For the balance of the concert, the Clemson University Singers, Clemson’s premier singing group, will sing a varied program, including a 20th-century pairing of “Songs of Darkness and Light,” “Nachtlied” and Eric Whitacre’s “Lux Aurumque.” They also will present music from from Venezuela, Sudan and Indonesia.

An award-winning choral conductor, Durham holds music degrees from Murray State University. He is completing the requirements for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University.   

Tickets for Clemson University choral ensembles concert are $8 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets and additional information are available at www.clemson.edu/Brooks or by calling the box office at 864-656-7787 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

END