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The Master Chorale of Washington (formerly the Paul Hill Chorale) has attracted the praise of critics nationwide through over 200 performances at the Kennedy Center, American and European tours, and national radio and television broadcasts. Since 1969 the Chorale has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra under such conductors as Howard Mitchell, Antal Dorati, Dmitri Kabalevsky, Julius Rudel, Neville Marriner and Mstislav Rostropovich. The Chorale was featured in the inaugural concerts of the Kennedy Center in 1971 and performs an annual series of concerts in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. It has commissioned works by American composers and premiered numerous new works. The Master Chorale has also appeared with the Washington Chamber Symphony, Richmond and Fairfax Symphonies, the Joffrey Ballet and Northwest Pacific Ballet. The Chorale has performed at Carnegie Hall, the White House and the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree. The group was featured in the celebration of Victor Borge's eightieth birthday at Wolf Trap, televised nationally on PBS, and has appeared three times on Garrison Keillor's nationally broadcast American Radio Company. In June 1999, the Chorale was awarded the prestigious Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence by Chorus America. There are 140 singers in the Chorale, including a professional core.

Donald McCullough, music director of the Master Chorale of Washington and the Master Chorale Chamber Singers, came to Washington in 1996 from Norfolk, Virginia, where he founded the highly acclaimed McCullough Chorale, Virginia’s only fully professional choral ensemble, in 1984 and the Virginia Symphony Chorus in 1990. He is an active arranger and composer with a number of published titles to his credit, including Holocaust Cantata—which had its world premiere at the Kennedy Center—and several other titles on this CD. Mr. McCullough is a member of the board of directors of Chorus America, the national service organization for choral groups in the United States and Canada. With a strong commitment to music education in public schools, he has been the guest conductor of numerous state and regional choral festivals for young singers. In 1997 Mr. McCullough initiated the All City Honors Chorus in partnership with the District of Columbia Public Schools, the Kennedy Center, and the Master Chorale of Washington. Mr. McCullough holds bachelor’s degrees in organ and vocal performance from Stetson University and master’s degrees in sacred music and vocal performance from Southern Methodist University. He studied conducting with Robert Page and music composition with Adolphus Hailstork and Alice Parker.

Paul Hill founded and directed the Paul Hill Chorale for 29 years and the Washington Singers for 15 years. He has prepared choruses for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Ballet, Washington Opera, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Victor Borge, Garrison Keillor, and the National Symphony Orchestra. In 1980 he formed Washington's first all-professional chamber choir, the Washington Singers (now the Master Chorale Chamber Singers). For ten years he was conductor of the Charlottesville (VA) Oratorio Society and for more than 20 years was conductor and coordinator of the Kennedy Center’s annual Messiah sing-along. In June 1992 he was awarded Chorus America’s coveted Founder’s Award for his contribution to the choral art. In May 1997 American University bestowed on him an honorary doctor of music degree. Dr. Hill was also awarded the Columbia Union College Medallion of Excellence and the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music Medal of Excellence. He continues to battle A.L.S. (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and was designated conductor emeritus in 1997.
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Melodious Accord - Master Chorale of Washington - Alice Parker
Melodious Accord/Master Chorale
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This recording documents an extraordinary concert, intended to capture the spirit of shape note conventions, which are still held today in many parts of the country. Invited choirs joined the Master Chorale to perform Wesley, Idumea and Sweet Prospect, surrounding the audience at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Alice Parker was Special Guest Conductor, joining Music Director Donald McCullough.
Shape-note singing is a distinctively American tradition that is enjoying a revival. Born from the desire to invigorate congregational singing, the shape-note tradition created its own musical notation, a robust singing style and a substantial collection of hymnody.