Concert to mark Holquist’s 30 years

Robert Holquist directs a WCU student choral ensemble.

Robert Holquist directs a WCU student choral ensemble.

The Western Carolina University School of Music will host a retirement celebration concert Sunday, April 25, to recognize more than 30 years of service by Robert Holquist, professor of music and director of choral activities.

The recital will begin at 4 p.m. in the WCU Fine and Performing Arts Center. The event is open to the public free of charge, although concert-goers will have opportunity to contribute to the Robert A. Holquist Vocalist Scholarship Fund, which was established in the conductor’s honor by the officers of the WCU choral groups in spring 2000.

The program will include some of what Holquist describes as his favorite “not fluffy” pieces performed by WCU choral ensembles, music alumni from across the country, and faculty soloists. Mary Kay Bauer, associate professor of voice and coordinator of the School of Music’s graduate program, will sing “Hear Me Redeemer” and William Martin, associate professor of voice, will perform “Sanctus.”

A combined chorus at the concert is expected to feature 235 vocalists, including the University Chorus and Concert Choir, and more than 140 alumni from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Kansas, Florida and California. The group includes former students from as far back as 1979, when Holquist began his duties at WCU.

Abigail Roper and Carmen Ramsey, who currently accompany the choral groups, will be featured, along with eight former WCU accompanists.

The Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet will accompany one selection, and other faculty members in solo roles include Will Peebles and Terri Armfield. Bruce Frazier, WCU’s Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Commercial and Electronic Music, will conduct his setting of “The Lord is My Shepherd,” which includes Holquist as a soloist.

Also on the program are Brahms’ “How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place,” Wilhousky’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” DeCormier’s “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy,” Thompson’s “Alleluia” and Carmichael’s “Georgia.”

Although he will retire from full-time employment at WCU next year, Holquist plans to continue judging music festivals, working at choral clinics and serving as minister of music at First Baptist Church in Sylva

For more information about the Holquist retirement celebration concert, call the School of Music at 828-227-7242.