Musica Vocale provides a professional level choral experience, performing a wide variety of a cappella and accompanied music that is not often presented in the area. It provides singers an opportunity to perform in a collaborative professional environment, creating a shared musical experience which we are proud to be offering in the Kansas City Community.
Musica Vocale began in 2008, with the first concert being held in February 2009. We schedule three concerts a calendar year that involve singers and instrumentalists. The choir has a core base of 24 singers, and depending on the concert, contracts 1-20 instrumentalists. We also contract vocal soloists from all over the nation.
Arnold Epley, Artistic Director / Conductor
In 2009 Arnold Epley formed Musica Vocale, a chamber choir of thirty-two singers and orchestra, which could also present itself as a smaller ensemble appropriate for early music or an expanded oratorio-sized chorus of sixty for larger works.
Arnold Epley is Emeritus Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at William Jewell College. During his 27 year tenure, he led the William Jewell Choir in 26 American concert tours and to England and Scotland nine times, the last in 2009. He began one of the region’s most anticipated Christmas events, The City Come Again, an annual standing-room-only noonday service at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, with college president Gordon Kingsley. His students from William Jewell College, Louisiana College, Kentucky Southern College and the University of Louisville have distinguished themselves around the country as university and college professors, secondary and elementary school choral teachers, church musicians, voice teachers, choral singers, and as professional singers and conductors.
In 2008 Epley stepped down as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus after a seventeen year tenure. In appreciation for his service the Kansas City Symphony named him Conductor Laureate of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus. He prepared the Symphony Chorus for over 70 works, heard in more than 200 performances with the Kansas City Symphony, in addition to the Symphony Chorus’s guest appearances with other orchestras, international concert tours and their own concerts.
For its five seasons Dr. Epley was conductor of Chorale Francis Poulenc, a chamber choir of singers from many of Kansas City’s best choral ensembles dedicated to the performance of Poulenc’s difficult and rewarding choral works.
For five years he joined the Independence Messiah Choir as resident conductor to prepare the choir for their annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, concluding with his appearance as conductor of their 89th annual presentation. During this time the Kansas City Symphony joined with the Messiah Choir as co-sponsor, involving both the Symphony Chorus and the Kansas City Symphony.
Dr. Epley’s peers honored him with the Luther T. Spayde Award, the Missouri Choral Directors Association’s highest honor, in 1997. He received the Carl F. Willard Distinguished Teaching Award and was elected Professor of the Year in 1999.
After a long career as a baritone soloist for symphonic, oratorio and recital performances, especially focusing on the choral works of J. S. Bach, he continues his work as a teacher of singing, his studio made up of some of the area’s leading singers.
Jay Carter, Associate Conductor
American countertenor Jay Carter has gained recognition as one of the nation’s finest, lauded for his luminous tone and stylish interpretations especially in the music of Bach, Handel, and Purcell. A frequent collaborator with both period and modern ensembles, Carter is nationally recognized as a leading interpreter of late Baroque repertoire. He has gained acclaim for recital programs of modern classics typically outside the standard countertenor repertory by composers such as Brahms, Britten, Schubert, and Hahn.
Carter made his Carnegie Hall debut in Messiah with Musica Sacra/ Kent Tritle and recently made his Kennedy Center Debut and with The National Symphony in Messiah. Other recent appearances include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the American Bach Soloists and the Choir of St. Thomas Church, Handel’s Messiah with the National Symphony, Houston Symphony, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Handel’s Saul with Musica Vocale and the Kansas City Baroque Consortium, and the North American Premiere of John Tavener’s
Lament for Jerusalem with the Choral Arts Society of Washington. He has worked with noted conductors including Simon Carrington, Nicholas McGegan, Arnold Epley, Matthew Halls, John Scott, Sir Philip Ledger, and Helmuth Rilling.
Mr. Carter is increasingly in demand as a guest lecturer on countertenor technique and repertory, frequently offering interactive lecture-recitals and masterclasses. He received a Masters in Music from the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, where he studied with James Taylor, Simon Carrington, and Judith Malafronte and was singled out for the Louise E. McClain scholarship. He received his undergraduate degree from William Jewell College where he studied voice with Arnold Epley. He lives in Liberty, Missouri with his wife and two children, and serves as Artist-in-residence at William Jewell College mentoring undergraduate music students.