The Alice Lloyd College choir, the Voices of Appalachia, tours annually in the spring to various parts of the United States performing the hymns and ballads of the southern Appalachian highlands. The choir sings both a cappella and with accompaniment.
A number of noteworthy and memorable places have been included in the choir’s travels. They have had opportunity to perform on shows, such as NBC’s The TODAY Show, the Kelly Lang Show from Los Angeles, and a special segment on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt entitled the “Pride of Appalachia.” The Voices have had the opportunity to share our rich heritage in diverse venues, including the Ahwahne Hotel at Yosemite National Park, California; the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC; the National Cathedral in Washington, DC; and Gettysburg National Park. Through their vocal performances, the choir members strive to convey the deep feelings mountain people have about their heritage and region.
The Voices of Appalachia was formed in 1962 when Abner Grender came to Caney Junior College to teach music. During the history of the Voices, six people have served as conductor: Abner Grender, Paul Tse, David Benson, Richard Kennedy, Bryan Bolton, and Richard Bowers. There have been approximately 700 to 800 choir members over the years, all of whom are still considered a part of the Voices family.
Richard Bowers is the newest conductor of The Voices of Appalachia. Richard is a native of Knott County and was previously a member of The Voices of Appalachia. He received his music training from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee and has extensive experience with music ensembles and choirs. He has toured the continental U.S., Jamaica and, most recently, Moscow, Russia. He has served as a Youth Minister and Music Minister at churches in Kentucky and Georgia, and he currently is a music educator with Rural Church Development Alliance, teaching Guitar and Music Theory.
Richard’s wife, Beth Ann, will also be joining ALC as the new accompanist for The Voices of Appalachia. Beth Ann previously served in this same capacity under the direction of former VOA conductor, Richard Kennedy. She has a degree in Elementary Education with a certification in Gifted Education. She minored in music with a voice proficiency. Prior to taking this position, Beth Ann conducted or accompanied choirs at the Elementary and Secondary levels. She also works with Rural Church Development Alliance, where she teaches Voice and Piano.
Richard and Beth Ann have three daughters: Claire, Corrie, and Rylie Grace.
Current Members of The Voices of Appalachia
The Music of the Voices of Appalachia
Below are selections performed by The Voices of Appalachia on their newest album, O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing! Simply click each song title to listen.