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Director of Choral and Vocal Studies and Assistant Professor of Music Christopher Jackson, pictured here conducting a recent performance of Carmina Burana at Muhlenberg, is one of four faculty members nominated for a Grammy Award.

Four Muhlenberg Voice Faculty Members Earn Grammy Nominations

Three out of the five nominated works in the Best Choral Performance category are tied to members of the College community.

By: Meghan Kita   Thursday, December 13, 2018 03:49 PM

At the 2019 Grammy Awards, there’s a 60 percent chance that at least one Muhlenberg faculty member will take home a golden gramophone in the Best Choral Performance category. Four faculty members are nominated as part of three different works:

Director of Choral and Vocal Studies and Assistant Professor of Music Christopher Jackson (pictured at top) and part-time Voice Lecturer Fiona Gillespie are nominated as part of the Skylark Vocal Ensemble for Seven Words From The Cross. “For us all to be nominated in the category of Best Choral Performance, it shows that we are out and doing quality work in our field, that we have a variety of experiences and flexibility and creativity in the instruction provided to our students,” Jackson says. “In addition to being trained soloists, we are working at the top of the field of choral music.”



Part-time Voice Lecturer Alexandra Porter is nominated as part of The Crossing for McLoskey: Zealot Canticles. “I am very pleased to be a part of this recording and for the recognition, though I think that many performers are just focusing on the work in that moment and what comes next, not necessarily about potential accolades in the future. However, it's wonderful to be reminded of something that took a lot of time and rehearsal after the fact,” Porter says. “There are many great recordings on this list and I'm so pleased that several of my Muhlenberg colleagues are also nominated for their work.”



Part-time Voice Lecturer Jessica Beebe is nominated as part of the Clarion Choir for Kastalsky: Memory Eternal. “I have been singing with Clarion for two years and also with The Crossing for nearly 10 years, but this is my first nomination,” Beebe says. “It’s very exciting that two ensembles that I am a full time member of are nominated. It makes me very proud and honored to do what I do.”





Nominees are selected by experts in the field—musicians from all over the world who’ve been nominated in the past or who’ve done enough work to be considered experts—so a nomination itself is a high honor. Jackson cites Muhlenberg’s proximity to both Philadelphia and New York City, which are hubs of choral music in the United States, as an advantage when it comes to attracting talented faculty and providing opportunities to students.

“I want students interested in becoming professional choral singers to come to Muhlenberg. I gig as a professional choral musician, and so do about a third of our faculty,” Jackson says. “The choral training here is not just coming from the choir director: The voice faculty are deeply connected to this field, and it’s a strong point of our instruction.”