The following events are all free and open to the public.

Chattanooga Boys Choir
Thursday, June 2, 7:30 p.m., Choo Choo Hotel Ballroom

Founded in 1954, the Chattanooga Boys Choir remains the oldest boys choir in the Southeastern United States. Comprised of over 140 boys in five different ensembles, the Choir has performed in 38 states and in 20 countries on five continents.

From masterwork performances in European cathedrals to appearances at the White House and major American performing venues, the Choir presents repertoire of varied styles, genres, and historical periods. The Choir appears regularly with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera under the leadership of Vincent Oakes. It has developed a unique educational program that includes a computer music theory lab, musicianship curriculum, and student internship program. For more information, visit

Charles R. Wilson, Speaker
Friday, June 3rd, 2 p.m., Choo Choo Hotel Ballroom

Charles R. Wilson is the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Chair of History and Professor of Southern Studies at The University of Mississippi, where he has taught since 1981. He has worked extensively with graduate students and served as Director of the Southern Studies academic program from 1991 to 1998.

Wilson received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso and earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas at Austin. He taught at the University of Wurzburg, Germany, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Texas Tech University before going to Mississippi.

Wilson is the author of Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920 (1980), a study of the memory of the Confederacy in the post-Civil War South, and Judgment and Grace in Dixie: Southern Faiths from Faulkner to Elvis (1995), which studies popular religion as a part of the culture of the modern South. He is also coeditor (with Bill Ferris) of the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (1989),which received the Dartmouth Prize from the American Library Association as best reference book of the year. He is editor or coeditor of Religion and the American Civil War (1998), The New Regionalism (1996), and Religion in the South (1985).

Eighth Regiment Band, Rome, Georgia
Friday, June 3rd, 7:30 p.m., Choo Choo Hotel Ballroom

Using authentic period instruments and music, the twenty-five member Eighth Regiment Band of Rome Georgia, has performed all over the United States in Civil War re-enactments, concerts, and parades. It has worn both the blue and the gray and has been booked under the names American Town Band, Eighth New York, and the Eighth Georgia.

The group has played for balls, weddings, and a made-for-TV movie. They have performed with symphony orchestras, on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” on National Public Radio, and their sound is a permanent part of the multi-media show at Chickamauga National Military Park. Members are students and faculty from Rome area high schools and colleges. The founder and director of the Eighth, John Carruth, is also the founder of the Rome Symphony Orchestra. Carruth has received numerous state and local awards for his work in music and in history.

Roland Carter and the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African-American Music
Friday, June 3rd, 7:30 p.m., Choo Choo Hotel Ballroom

The Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song is a group formed for the purpose of preserving the rich heritage of African American songs with special emphasis on the Negro spirituals. This diverse group is comprised of approximately 45 members with varying professional backgrounds including students, teachers, professors, and professional musicians. Roland Carter, Ruth S. Holmberg Professor of American Music in the Department of Music at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will conduct The Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song.

Distinguished composer, conductor, educator, and pianist, Carter’s accomplishments as a leading figure in the choral arts include concerts with major choruses and orchestras in prestigious venues nationwide as well as lectures, workshops, and master classes. From presidential inaugurations to the smallest church, from scholarly presentations for national gatherings of musicians, educators, and preservationists to private coaching with individual singers, Carter lends his keen ear, bright mind, and talented hands to projects of every sort.

The Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song (CCSPAAS) traces its beginnings to informal gatherings of former students, church choir members, and friends of the late Edmonia Johnson Simmons. Simmons taught music at the Howard High School in Chattanooga for nearly four decades, and served as music director for several area churches. During holiday seasons, especially Christmas, Howard alumni would join current students and church choir members for concerts, caroling, and often informal sessions in her home.

In 1984, Dr. Lee Norris Mackey, a Simmons protégé, undertook a research project to investigate the programming performance practices, and recordings of African American spirituals by choirs of Historically Black Colleges, and Universities (HBCU’s). Mackey found that there had been a significant decline in the performance of spirituals; thus the need, mission, and name of the organization were affirmed. Mackey sought and received funding from the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga for this project. Carter is founder and CEO of MAR-VEL, a publisher specializing in music and traditions of African American composers, and a life member of the National Association of Negro Musicians Inc.(NANM).

Carter is especially noted as an authority on the performance and preservation of African American music, having produced and appeared on programs for national and international radio and television networks in support of these aims. He is founder and CEO of Mar-Vel, a music publisher specializing in the music of African American Composers and traditions. Carter has directed the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song for 19 years, and served music advisor and principle guest conductor of the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Houston, TX for twelve years.

Sand Mountain, Alabama, Sacred Harp Singers
Saturday, June 4, 4 p.m.,  Choo Choo Hotel Ballroom

Sacred Harp singing, sometimes called “fasola” singing, is sacred a capella music with a heritage dating back to colonial America. This uniquely American music is a product of the singing school movement that started in 18th-century New England.

The “fasola” shaped-note method is a simplified approach to musical instruction in which four musical syllables, fa, sol, la, and mi, are designated by shapes whose position on the musical staff indicate their pitch. Three of the shapes are repeated to complete the scale (fa, sol, la, fa, sol, la, mi, fa).

The Sand Mountain Sacred Harp Singers of the Henagar, Alabama, area have preserved the traditional art of Sacred Harp singing for more than 100 years. These singers recorded two songs that were included in the Cold Mountain movie soundtrack. Symposium participants will be invited to join in the singing. Singing will be led by David Ivey of Henagar, Alabama.

Media Relations Contacts: Email Chuck Cantrell or call (423) 425-4363.
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