Festival Chorus Concert to Honor Life of Popular and Influential Late Conductor
Over 130 performers will join forces and talents on November 1st in Converse College’s Twichell Auditorium to honor the memory of longtime Spartanburg resident Dr. Perry Daniels during the Spartanburg Festival Chorus’ winter concert performance of Vaughan Williams’ holiday classic Hodie.
The baton will drop at 7:30 p.m., and the performance is free and open to the public.
Daniels was a professor of voice at Converse’s Petrie School of Music from 1965 until 1994. He was also the longtime conductor of the Spartanburg Festival Chorus and the St. John’s Lutheran Church choir.
"The Festival Chorus was formed in 1979, and Perry was named conductor after the first year," said Dr. Keith Jones, who currently conducts the Festival Chorus in addition to serving as Associate Professor of Voice and Choirs at Converse. "It was Perry who built the Festival Chorus into what it is today. He touched a lot of lives in this community through his music and his sense of humor. In addition to conducting the Festival Chorus, he was an extraordinarily successful voice teacher in Spartanburg and at the Brevard Music Center."
Longtime Festival Chorus member Dewey Tullis said Daniels was "a tremendous musician with a beautiful voice. He loved music and made everyone love it. We always laughed at the way he articulated his notes and how they shook when he sang."
"He did the best gorilla imitation I ever saw," said Beverly Hay, the Daniel Professor of Voice at Converse College, where Daniels taught for nearly three decades. "He’d get down on all fours like a gorilla, and we would all be laughing. … He was the life of the party. He was a very dignified person, but he also had a wry sense of humor."
The November 1st concert is made possible by gifts made to a memorial fund established upon Daniels’s death in January 2007. Joining the Festival Chorus on stage will be members of the Spartanburg Philharmonic, Greenville Philharmonic and the Converse Symphony Orchestra.
Hodie, (pronounced ‘HO-dee-ay’) is widely considered by audiences worldwide to be a holiday classic. Written by Vaughan Williams in 1954, the piece fuses English countryside carols with texts from the Bible and poems from Milton and Thomas Hardy, among others. "Hodie can be translated to mean ‘this day,’" explained Jones. "It’s all about a celebration of life and the birth of Jesus Christ. I can’t think of a better way to honor Perry Daniels than with this performance."