Musselwhite to retire, new director hired

Saif Sarfani, Campus Carrier Staff Reporter

Harry Musselwhite, senior lecturer of music, will be retiring from teaching and directorship of various choral activities like the Berry Singers, Berry Concert Choir and the Berry Chamber Choir at the end of this semester.

During his time at Berry, Musselwhite’s directorship has allowed the choral groups to perform across the United States and Europe, according to the Berry College website. Some notable stages the Berry Chamber Choir has performed on include Chirstchurch Cathedral in Dublin, Regent’s Hall in London, St. Agathe’s in Amsterdam and The Rotunda of the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C.

                                                                                                           Carrier file photo
Musselwhite leads the Berry Singers during a November 2014 concert. 

Student and faculty expressed their thoughts on Musselwhite’s departure.

“I have worked with Mr. Musselwhite in both Concert Choir and Berry Singers the past four years. Mr. Musselwhite constantly teaches his students not only proper vocal technique, but also how to infuse music with meaning,” senior Beth Flichman said. “I hope Mr. Musselwhite is able to continue to flourish in music as well as his other passions. I know that he will continue to impart knowledge to others wherever he goes from here.”

Sophomore John Edgar has been a part of Musselwhite’s concert choir for two years.

“I have been a member of the concert choir for two years with Harry Musselwhite. He has taught me how to perform with passion and technique and how to have fun and build community with my peers,” Edgar said. “I hope he can pursue his own performance career and continue to influence the music community in great ways like he (has) influenced Berry’s community.”

Associate professor of music and department chair of fine arts Kris Carlisle expressed his sadness for Musselwhite’s departure and said a new choral director will be replacing him.

“We have a new choral director about whom we are very excited.  He will fill Mr. Musselwhite’s role as the choral director, but no one will ever truly take his place,” Carlisle said. “Mr. Musselwhite is one of a kind. A true Southern gentleman.  He will be sorely missed … His love for music will continue at Berry College as he would wish it to.  Mr. Musselwhite, above all else, is a consummate musician.  The love of music and its process and endurance is his passionate.  I know that he wishes this for all his colleagues and students at Berry.”

Carlisle said he hopes that the music program will continue to pursue the excellence and professionalism that Harry Musselwhite has instilled in it.

Paul Neal, director of choral studies at Valdosta State University, will be the new choir director starting this fall.

“I’m really excited about coming to Berry. I’ve known Harry Musselwhite for several years now and have really enjoyed his friendship. He’s a wonderful colleague here in the state of Georgia, and I’m looking forward to continuing on the great works he’s done all of these years,” Neal said. “I know that the students at Berry are some of the best in the state, and I just really look forward to continuing and working to find new and inventive ways of getting students involved in the choir program. One of the things I really want to see in all college experiences is to have the experiences of the fine arts and I think the choir is a great opportunity.”

Musselwhite said he has mixed feelings about leaving Berry. He’s sad to leave, but excited about his future.

“I am a singer and a teacher of singing firs, then a choral conductor,” Musselwhite said. “The profession has changed, and Paul Neal, the new director, will reflect that change.” 

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