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2011 Faculty & Staff News

Longwood music professor wins choral composition competition

January 21, 2011

Ryan Hebert
Dr. Ryan Hebert

Dr. Ryan Hebert, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at Longwood University, recently won the Jefferson Choral Society's inaugural Virginia Choral Composition Competition.

Hebert's winning work is a choral setting of E.E. Cummings' poem "i carry your heart with me." The prize, which includes a $500 cash award, will be presented at the premiere performance of the work by the Jefferson Choral Society (JCS) on Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Joy and Lynch Christian Warehouse Theatre/Academy of Fine Arts in Lynchburg, in the JCS's "Poetry in Music" concert. The work will be repeated the next day at 4 p.m. Hebert will attend both performances.

"The contest rules stated that the composer had to use a secular poem," Hebert said. "I thought this poem was a well-written text and setting it to music was easy, because the lyrics already sing. I have done composition a little bit for 10 years. I don't do a lot of it. It's something I do as a hobby. It's fun to do because I don't have to do it."

The JCS, based in Lynchburg and in its 21st concert season, is a 90-voice regional chorus that performs choral works from all periods and many genres. It has toured in Europe five times, and it also has toured in the United States and Canada.

Hebert, who has taught at Longwood since fall 2007, conducts the University Men's Choir, the University Women's Choir, and the Camerata Singers. In addition to his conducting, he teaches aural skills, the fundamentals of conducting, advanced choral conducting, and choral methods. He received the Faculty Recognition Award at the 2010 Commencement.

Before coming to Longwood, Hebert conducted the choirs at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, in Greenville, from 2004 to 2007 and was choral director at Oklahoma City Community College from 1999 to 2002. A native of Thibodeaux, La., he has a B.M. from the University of Alabama, an M.M. from the University of Kansas, and a D.M.A. from Louisiana State University.