Main content
Home - News

Recent News

Share this
October 30, 2023

Internationally Acclaimed Choral Director to Host Free Choral Masterclass at Roberts Wesleyan University

Masterclass open to the public, including singers, conductors and music educators

Brainerd Blyden-Taylor headshot.

Roberts Wesleyan University will present a free choral masterclass to the public on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., featuring Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, the renowned founder, artistic director and conductor of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, a professional Afrocentric vocal ensemble from Toronto, Canada. Singers, choral conductors, music educators and anyone interested in choral music will find much to learn and enjoy during the class, which will be hosted in the Shewan Recital Hall on the Roberts Wesleyan University campus.

The class will consist of a brief lecture by Blyden-Taylor, after which he will coach two demonstration choirs: Roberts Wesleyan University’s premier student ensemble, The Roberts Chorale, and Resonanz, an outreach chamber choir of the Rochester Oratorio Society. At the conclusion of the masterclass, Blyden-Taylor will take questions from the audience.

Blyden-Taylor founded The Nathaniel Dett Chorale in 1998 after immigrating to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago and identifying a lack of professional representation for Afrocentric choral music in the country’s performing arts scene. Upon its founding, the Chorale became Canada’s first professional choral group dedicated to Afrocentric music of all styles, including classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues. The group of 21 classically trained vocalists have shared the stage with internationally recognized artists such as Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy and have performed at global events honoring distinguished world leaders, including Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Throughout his accomplished career in music, Blyden-Taylor has conducted several university, youth and concert choirs, most notably concluding a 25-year tenure with The Orpheus Choir of Toronto. He also served as a member of the teaching faculty at several universities in Canada, including the University of Toronto and Queen’s University.

“Roberts Wesleyan is pleased to partner with several Rochester choral music organizations to bring Brainerd Blyden-Taylor to campus,” said Adam Potter, director of choral activities at Roberts Wesleyan University. “Our students had the privilege of singing under his baton a year ago and found the experience rewarding on many levels. We’re excited for him to share his wealth of knowledge and experiences with the Greater Rochester community in this format.”

The masterclass is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged in advance by calling the Rochester Oratorio Society at 585-473-2234. The event is made possible through a generous sponsorship from the Rochester Oratorio Society and additional support from the Greater Rochester Choral Consortium's Roger Wilhelm Project Fund.

For more information about the event and Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, click here.

For more news articles, you can take a look at our archive.