The Lexington Signers is one of the longest continuously performing independent community choral groups in America. Based in Lexington, Kentucky, The Singers currently comprises approximately 300 adult and children voices. Since its founding in 1959, the group has entertained hundreds of audiences throughout Kentucky, the United States, and the world.
Recent performances have included, among other works, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Mozart’s Requiem, Brahms’German Requieum, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, and Verdi’s Requiem. There are eight performances in the concert season, including concerts with The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, and annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, and a very popular Spring Pops concert. Tour concerts have included performances at St. Peter’s basilica at the Vatican, St. Mark’s basilica in Venice, Vienna’s Hofburg Palace, the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and three concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
In the past year, The Lexington Singers have seen success in many of our key focus areas – our children’s outreach, our community outreach, and our commitment to quality choral music.
The Lexington Singers Children’s Choir serves more than 140 youth, providing enrichment and education opportunities. Scholarship assistance for children in need has more than doubled due to a renewed focus on outreach to underserved youth, and our completely free summer camp.
The Lexington Singers has partnered with God’s Pantry Food Bank and The Hope Center in order to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger and poverty in Central Kentucky.
Both the Lexington Singers Children’s Choir and the adult choir have been recognized for their quality musicianship through invitational performances at some of the most prestigious venues in the United States. The Children’s Choir was one of only two children’s choirs in the nation invited to perform at the American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Convention in Jacksonville, Florida and The Lexington Singers closed their 2014 concert season with a performance at Carnegie Hall. In 2016, The Children's Choir performed at the Choirs of America Nationals at Carnegie Hall and the adult choir is preparing for a summer tour of Spain.
While our performances are primarily in Lexington, Kentucky, our patrons come from all over the state to see our performances. Our own membership consists of singers from as near as Georgetown and Nicholasville, and as far as Morehead, Somerset, and Danville.
Johnie Dean joined The Lexington Singers during the 2002-2003 season as Assistant Accompanist.
Dr. Dean received his Bachelor of Music from Campbellsville College, his Masters in Church Music from Southern Seminary in Louisville, and his Doctorate in Music from the University of Kentucky. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Music theory at the University of Kentucky.
Dr. Lori Hetzel started her relationship with The Lexington Singers as the Assistant Director in 1997, and was appointed the Artistic Director of The Lexington Singers Children's Choir and Director of the Children's Chamber Choir in 2003.
Dr. Hetzel is the Associate Director of Choral Activities and professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Kentucky where she conducts the Women's Choir and the a cappella group "Paws and Listen." She also teaches graduate and undergraduate secondary methods courses and undergraduate conducting. In conjunction with the undergraduate choral methods courses, she has pioneered a unique partnership program with a local high school. As a result of this program the choral music education students at the University of Kentucky are receiving hands on experience and immediate feedback early in their curriculum. Among her many accomplishments, she was the recipient of the University of Kentucky award "Great Teacher of the Year" in 2000 and has published articles in College Music Symposium and Southeastern Music Education Journal. The UK Women's Choir has been invited to perform at both MENC and ACDA Southern Division Conventions, and in 2003 were featured at the ACDA National Convention in New York City.
A native of Wisconsin, Dr. Hetzel received her B.A. degree in Music Education, Summa cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. She received her M.M. degree from the University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory, where she studied conducting with Eph Ehly. Her D.M.A. degree is in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University with Charles K. Smith. An active clinician and guest conductor, Dr. Hetzel has most recently appeared at music conferences in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia.
The Lexington Singers Children’s Choir (LSCC) was formed to provide opportunities for the children of Lexington and the surrounding communities to participate in a quality choral music education program and to further musical understanding among all peoples regardless of religious, racial, cultural or economic background. LSCC consists of four choirs- Preparatory, Intermediate, Advanced, and Chamber.
Children that have graduated from our choirs have seen enormous success in their academic and personal lives. Several of our past choir members have gone on to study music professionally and credit LSCC for their early music education. LSCC currently has alumni studying music at Samford University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and St. Olaf College. Our alumni have gone on to do vocal performance, music therapy, and education. One of our most recent successes is Catherine Wright, a vocal performance major at UK and recent first place winner of an Alltech Vocal Scholarship. Catherine vied for the scholarship in Alltech’s largest ever vocal competition, competing against more than 200 other vocalists for the award.
Festival of Choirs is an annual collaborative concert performed by The Lexington Singers with local African American church choirs. The concert is an intercultural celebration of gospel music that allows each of the choirs to showcase their own local talent. The performance was most recently held at Shiloh Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky on March 9, 2012. This event is offered free to the public and was attended by approximately 600 people.
The Lexington Singers has organized Festival of Choirs for each of the past nine years in an effort to engage diverse members of the Central Kentucky community while also attempting to address improve issues of race and equality in our neighborhoods. The event is both a physical and spiritual coming together of voices, celebrating our common humanity and rejoicing in our love for music and our community. In year’s past, the show has featured such choirs as First Baptist Church of Bracktown, Bethsaida Baptist Church, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Jimtown Baptist Church, Wesley United Methodist Church, Total Grace Baptist, Imani Baptist Church, First African Baptist Church, East Second Street Christian Church, and many others. Over the years, The Singers have partnered with over 20 local African American church choirs for the event.
By holding the event at Shiloh Baptist Church, located in a predominantly African American neighborhood, the Festival of Choirs is promoted to and attended by an incredibly diverse audience. As the only free gospel concert publicized to the general population in Lexington, it incorporates a wide variety of participants that vary in age, races, ethnicity, and religious affiliations. The concert provides a unique opportunity for audience members and participants alike to have intercultural communication and interaction that is not possible in any other venue.
The Lexington Singers’ Festival of Choirs is aimed to engage people of all ages, cultures, races, and religions with an emphasis on African-American and gospel style music. The concert’s long-term aim is to encourage the enjoyment and diversification of gospel music to members of the general public through collaborations with local gospel music performers.The concert will provide enrichment and education for all cultures and musical interest groups and will allow those that traditionally do not have regular access to live gospel music an opportunity to engage with the genre. Minority groups that have historically been underrepresented in The Singers’ membership will engage with the organization in a way that encourages future collaboration and partnership.
Each season, The Lexington Singers present the best of traditional and modern classics throughout the year. The classics concert series typically includes a fall and spring concert as well as the annual performance of Handel's Messiah. Concerts for the 2014-2015 season include a Jazz concert highlighting the musicianship of Jay Flippin and the expressive artistry of dancers. The Spring concert will include a world premiere of Dr. Rollo Dilworth's work commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ending of the Civil War. The concert will feature both adult and children voices and the commissioned work will take center stage.
“The Messiah season ended in Lexington on Sunday afternoon with the biggest and best performance of all those that have graced our city in the last month. The Lexington Singers, under the expert direction of Jefferson Johnson, filled the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall not only with the beautiful music of this oratorio, but also with an infectious enthusiasm for it.”
Linsday, T. B. (2011, Dec. 20). Lexington singers ‘Messiah’.The Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved from http://www.kentucky.com/2011/12/20/1999743/review-lexington-singers-messiah.html
“By pairing Achambeault’s images with Dean’s sumptuous arrangement and the musicians’ sensitive performance, The Lexington Singers have created an iconic Kentucky work that out to be committed to video and packaged as something choral groups around the Commonwealth can present."
Copley, R. (2009, Nov. 22). Lexington singers inspired performance.Copious Notes. Retrieved from http://copiousnotes.bloginky.com/2009/11/22/review-lexington-singers-bluegrass-tapestry/
“The Singers’ sensitivity to the text and music of Papa Haydn’s ninth mass was as strong as its precision, making for a highly textured performance.”
Copley, R. (2007, Nov. 11). Spectacular, sensitive singing.Copious Notes. Retrieved from http://copiousnotes.bloginky.com/2007/11/11/spectacular-sensitive-singing/
The Singers adult and children’s choirs have enjoyed an abundance of collaborations over the past year. Key partnerships over the past year have included performances and programs with the UK Opera Theatre, UK Chorale, UK Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, God’s Pantry Food Bank, and others. Several of the events of the past year were put on by the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government such as the annual Christmas Tree Lighting and the July 4th Patriotic Concert. Additionally, The Singers coordinated a free gospel music concert called Festival of Choirs in which we partnered with three African American churches hosted the event the program was supported by both Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky and Dupree Financial Services, Inc.
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