In 2009 Arnold Epley formed Musica Vocale, a chamber choir of thirty-two singers and orchestra, which could also present itself as a smaller ensemble appropriate for early music or an expanded oratorio-sized chorus of sixty for larger works.
Arnold Epley is Emeritus Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at William Jewell College. During his 27 year tenure, he led the William Jewell Choir in 26 American concert tours and to England and Scotland nine times, the last in 2009. He began one of the region's most anticipated Christmas events, The City Come Again, an annual standing-room-only noonday service at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, with college president Gordon Kingsley. His students from William Jewell College, Louisiana College, Kentucky Southern College and the University of Louisville have distinguished themselves around the country as university and college professors, secondary and elementary school choral teachers, church musicians, voice teachers, choral singers, and as professional singers and conductors.
In 2008 Epley stepped down as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus after a seventeen year tenure. In appreciation for his service the Kansas City Symphony named him Conductor Laureate of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus. He prepared the Symphony Chorus for over 70 works, heard in more than 200 performances with the Kansas City Symphony, in addition to the Symphony Chorus's guest appearances with other orchestras, international concert tours and their own concerts.
For its five seasons Dr. Epley was conductor of Chorale Francis Poulenc, a chamber choir of singers from many of Kansas City's best choral ensembles dedicated to the performance of Poulenc's difficult and rewarding choral works.
For five years he joined the Independence Messiah Choir as resident conductor to prepare the choir for their annual performances of Handel's Messiah, concluding with his appearance as conductor of their 89th annual presentation. During this time the Kansas City Symphony joined with the Messiah Choir as co-sponsor, involving both the Symphony Chorus and the Kansas City Symphony.
Dr. Epley's peers honored him with the Luther T. Spayde Award, the Missouri Choral Directors Association's highest honor, in 1997. He received the Carl F. Willard Distinguished Teaching Award and was elected Professor of the Year in 1999.
After a long career as a baritone soloist for symphonic, oratorio and recital performances, especially focusing on the choral works of J. S. Bach, he continues his work as a teacher of singing, his studio made up of some of the area's leading singers.
Jay Carter, Artistic Advisor
American countertenor Jay Carter is quickly gaining recognition as one of the nation's finest, lauded for his luminous tone and stylish interpretations of earlier music. Equally at home in the modern recital repertoire, he has gained acclaim for programs of modern classics typically outside the standard countertenor repertory by composers such as Quilter, Brahms, Britten, and Hahn. Carter is a featured soloist on recordings of Bach's Magnificat in D,Le Stagioni: Virtuoso Italian Madrigals with Gravitacion, and Cantatas by Handel and Caldara with the Kingsbury ensemble. He has also appeared in numerous operatic productions.
Upcoming concerts include Handel's Messiah with the Houston Symphony and Columbus Symphony, Handel's Joshua with the Louisville Bach Society, Bach's B minor Mass with the Choir of St. Thomas Church as well as appearances in the greater Kansas City and Saint Louis Area. He has worked with noted conductors including John Scott, Owen Burdick, Simon Carrington, Arnold Epley, Stephen Layton, Sir Philip Ledger CBE, Nicholas McGegan and Helmuth Rilling.
In addition to concert performances and recitals, Mr. Carter is also increasingly in demand as a guest lecturer on countertenor technique and repertory, frequently offering unique interactive lecture-recitals and masterclasses. Mr. Carter received a Masters in Music from the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, where he studied with James Taylor, Simon Carrington, and Judith Malafronte and was singled out for the Louise E. McClain scholarship. He received his undergraduate degree from William Jewell College where he studied voice with Arnold Epley. He was a 2008 regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Carter currently serves as Artist in Residence and Visiting Professor of Voice at William Jewell College where he teaches voice, leads the Schola Cantorum, and teaches a core curriculum course on the Arts.