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Vesper Choir

2016-17 Vesper Choir
The internationally recognized University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vesper Choir, under the direction of Dr. Michael J. Bates, Professor of Music, is nationally recognized among historically Black colleges and universities for its diverse repertoire and excellent performances. This 75-80 member select ensemble, founded in the 1940s by Professor Ariel Lovelace and conducted for more than 40 years by Professor Shelton J. McGee, has a rich choral tradition that includes numerous performances on radio and television, as well as performances across the United States and over the Internet. 

Dr. Bates, assisted by Voice Instructor and Assistant Choir Director Mr. Andee Book, conducts the Vesper Choir in an entertaining and varied program of classical choral literature, spirituals, choral jazz and commercial music, and gospel selections. The Choir continues the tradition of studying and performing choral masterpieces and contemporary choral compositions that are of the highest quality. On December 6th, the Vesper Choir presented its 62nd annual performance of Handel’s Messiah with orchestra. 
The Vesper Choir has had several performances with the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra and in March of 2010 the Vesper Choir performed the concert version of the opera “Porgy and Bess” with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Other performances of note include: A 2006 concert tour of four cities in Italy with two concerts in each city: Rome, including rendering music for the Mass at the Vatican in St. Peter’s Basilica; a performance at historic St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, and concerts in Florence and Milan; a 2010 performance at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; a performance at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; an award winning television program for the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN); and a recent performance with internationally famous young musician Ethan Bortnick, who has assisted in raising more than $30 million for non-profit organizations and humanitarian causes around the world. During their annual spring tours, the Vesper Choir has presented concerts in churches, schools and significant performance venues in more than 20 states. 

The Vesper Choir has a mission that is educational, artistic and cultural. It is a service organization and performs for significant campus, community and state events. Most recently, the Vesper Choir’s spring 2015 tour took them to New York City and performances at Historic Seventh Day Adventist Church in Greenwich Village, in the Atrium at Trump Tower and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, the 4th largest Christian church in the world. 

The UAPB Vesper Choir was recently the recipient of a $300,000 gift from UAPB/Vesper Choir alumnus Mr. John Smith (’62) to establish the John Smith and Charlene Smith-Gaines Vesper Choir Endowment Fund.  

Picture of the UAPB Marching Band

Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South (M4)

The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South (M4) is under the direction of Mr. John Graham and Assistant directors, Mr. Darryl Evans and Mr. Harold Fooster. M4 performs for all home football games and travels to almost all games away from campus. The marching band has made appearances at the Gateway Classic, Professional football games, national television and countless "Battle of the Bands" competitions. Each year M4 hosts its "Band Day", where several high school bands from throughout the country get the opportunity to attend a Golden Lion football game, play as a mass band, and perform their half-time shows for each other. The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South performed in the 2008 inaugural parade of President Barack Obama.
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Jazz EnsembleUAPB Jazz Ensemble

The Jazz Ensemble is the premiere jazz group that performs a variety of styles which include swing, contemporary, funk, progressive and the standards. This ensemble takes annual tours both locally and nationally.

Wind SymphonyUAPB Wind Symphony

The Wind Symphony is an ensemble of select students that performs only the finest wind ensemble literature, features soloists, and commissions new works for wind ensembles.

Brass EnsembleUAPB Brass Ensemble

The Brass Ensemble is comprised of some of the finest musicians in the Department of Music at UAPB. This ensemble rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Entry into this ensemble is by audition only.

Percussion EnsembleUAPB Percussion Ensemble

The Percussion Ensemble performs top concert and world percussion literature. This ensemble primarily consists of percussion majors and is open by audition to other percussion students.

Chamber Saxophones

The Chamber Saxophones is a group of saxophone players who are performing standard literature written and transcribed for the full range saxophones.

Contact Us

Department of Music
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
(870) 575-7001
Dr. Richard Bailey, Chairperson