Daniel to lead AVAS in its 22nd season

Society's first male director brings strong background in conducting choral music


The Arundel Vocal Arts Society begins its 22nd season with a new permanent musical director - David B. Daniel, who was offered the post after a rigorous selection process that attracted a large number of highly qualified candidates. Indications are that Daniel is a good fit for the chorus.

The first male director in AVAS' 22-year history, composer/arranger, voice teacher and performing baritone Daniel brings a strong background in conducting choral music and holds a doctorate in musical arts.

A resident of the Washington area for the past four years, Daniel is founder and director of Voce Della Donna, a women's choral chamber ensemble that has performed throughout the metropolitan area in such venues as the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

On board for two months and commuting weekly from Burke, Va., where he lives with his wife Ellouise, the 35-year-old conductor noted that he initially invited the 60 members of the choral group to write down their musical likes and dislikes to decide their direction.

"I'm trying to do what makes them feel comfortable and am giving them a difficult program, much of the first half in Latin," Daniel said.

He added that he has been "really impressed by the musicality and hard work of the group. They have an excellent sound. The bass section is small but it would be hard to tell that they are only five in number.

"I'm enjoying working with the chorus," Daniel said. "I find that it's worth the drive across the Woodrow Wilson drawbridge."

Daniel replaces Glenette Schumacher, who had served as AVAS' music director for 10 years before going on a leave of absence and deciding last spring not to return as director.

Although Schumacher will be missed on the podium, she will be welcomed back to sing with the Vocal Artists.

Initially, Betty-Ann Lynerd was to have served as interim conductor for the group's 2004-05 season, but she moved out of state after conducting the December concert.

Cindy Bauchspies, director of Annapolis Area Christian School choirs, conducted the spring 2005 pops concert.

Daniel's first program will feature an assortment of music that will include Personent Hodie, arranged by Lara Hoogard; Hodie Christus Natus Est, by Jan Sweelinck; Arvo Part's Magnificat; Hodie! (This Day), by Randall Stroope; Daniel Pinkham's Christmas Cantata; African Noel, by Andre Dawson; Mary Had a Baby, by William Dawson; Glory, Glory to the Newborn King, arranged by Hoses Hogan; and A Christmas Garland, by Conrad Susa.

The program will be performed at 2 p.m. Dec. 4 at Calvary Methodist Church on Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis.

"Our new director David Daniel is young but wise beyond his years and very talented," said AVAS chorister Christine McVeigh, speaking for the group.

"The music he has chosen for this concert is challenging but well within the range of our talents. He has a marvelous sense of humor, which we all appreciate," she said.

AVAS membership is open to singers in all voice ranges, with tenors and bases especially welcome. Call 410-268-3131 to arrange an audition. Rehearsals are held at Annapolis Area Christian School on Bestgate Road on Wednesdays from 7:30 p.m. to 9:40 p.m.

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