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
- Memorial Day program at 2 p.m. Sunday at Andersonville National Cemetery
- Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black was in Americus Wednesday to present a grant in the amount of $7,500 to the Sumter Humane Society for spaying and neutering
- Schley 5th graders learn their rights
- City to issue revenue bonds to refinance loan
The Home Run to be held in Jay Williams’ memory
Jay Williams, of Plains, was an outdoor type of guy, enjoying activities such as running and bicycling. He was also a spiritual man and enjoyed sharing his faith with others. When he died after a falling accident in June 2012, his friends really missed him. Two of those friends, Travis Kelly and Rebecca Ferguson, decided to carry out a race event that Williams had planned, to benefit the Methodist Youth Home in Americus.
- President times two
- Video production
- Volcanic knowledge
- Odyssey of the Mind team heads for World Finals in Michigan
- Health inspections: May 12, 2013
- More Local News Headlines