The Voices of Appalachia
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 the 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 mountain people’s deep feelings 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, seven people have served as conductor: Abner Grender, Paul Tse, David Benson, Richard Kennedy, Bryan Bolton, Richard Bowers, and Wendy Saylor. Over the years, there have been approximately 700 to 800 choir members, all of whom are still considered a part of the Voices family.
The Voices of Appalachia is a great asset to both Alice Lloyd College and the Appalachian region; the first priority is the benefit derived by the individual members from participation in the choral experience. Amazingly enough, the College does not offer any type of music major or minor; therefore, all members of the Voices of Appalachia are performing out of the love they hold for their heritage and the musical traditions that support their background.
Along with the week-long spring tour, which is student-planned, the choir also performs an on-campus Christmas concert and one or two Christmas productions at off-campus sites. In addition, each April the Voices present their spring program to the campus community upon returning from their tour. Occasionally, the choir will be asked to perform at various on-campus and off-campus events. They also record their music for distribution on CD.
The choir sings shape note/sacred harp (in a cappella), traditional, choral, praise/worship, and Bluegrass Gospel selections.
Mindy Rubin received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Violin Performance from The University of South Carolina, and her Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. She has performed with some of the finest conductors and orchestras throughout Europe including concerts in Berlin, Hamburg, Milan, and Helsinki, and in the United States at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and at The White House. Mindy has performed or toured with musical legends including Tony Bennett, Bobby McFerrin, and Mannheim Steamroller and in films with Sir Georg Solti and Dudley Moore. In 1995, Mindy was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Finland where she finished her dissertation on “The Violin and Piano Works of Jean Sibelius.” Dr. Rubin is an Associate Professor of Music as well as Communication Studies at Alice Lloyd College, and has over 25 years of teaching experience spanning Pre-K through college level. In her spare time, Mindy enjoys traveling with her husband Mark and doting on their three dogs.