Six choirs are gathering Friday, April 19, to pay tribute to the career of Roland Carter with a concert at 7:30 p.m. in First Baptist Church, 401 Gateway Ave.
Carter has retired from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga after 23 years of classroom teaching and directing choral ensembles. On campus, he was the Ruth S. Holmberg Professor of American Music; off campus, he was the country's pre-eminent authority on the history and performance of spirituals.
"Roland M. Carter has been one of the most prominent driving forces nationally and internationally for the preservation and promotion of artistic arrangements of African-American spirituals," says Dr. Kevin Ford, director of choirs at UTC.
So before the retiree goes fishing, a farewell concert has been planned featuring groups from all the musical genres in which Carter has had a hand.
The UTC Chattanooga Singers, Chamber Singers and Men's Chorus will perform, as will the Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song, all of which Carter has directed at one point in his life.
The Hampton University Chorus, representing Carter's alma mater, and the Morehouse Glee Club are traveling to Chattanooga to participate in this tribute.
The concert's program will be composed of "60 percent Roland Carter compositions and 40 percent other composers," Ford says.
Among songs to be performed will be "Ride on Jesus," "In Bright Mansions Above," "You Must Have That True Religion," "Give Me Jesus," "I Want To Die Easy" and "This Little Light of Mine."
"We have roped Roland into conducting his 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' as the finale, and Gail Robinson-Oturu will likely get him to play piano with her for her solo works," adds Ford.
Tickets are $5 today or $10 at the door. Advance tickets are sold through the UTC Fine Arts Center box office, 752 Vine St. (423-425-4269).
A reception in the church fellowship hall will follow the concert.