New TTU interim director of choirs to lead mass choir next month in Nashville

“Music has had such an impact on my life that I feel I owe it to music to try to return that favor.”

That’s the guiding philosophy Craig Zamer says inspired him to accept an invitation to direct a 330-member mixed choir at the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association’s Middle School Mass Choir, set for Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena.

Zamer is the new interim director of choirs at Tennessee Tech University, but he won’t be the only local participant at next month’s event. Choral students from local middle schools — such as Avery Trace — will join others from across the state for the daylong event.

In addition to the male and female mixed choir Zamer will lead, the event will feature performances by another such mixed choir and an all-female treble choir. The concert begins at 6 p.m.

Pieces that will be performed in the program Zamer has chosen include “Viva la Musica” by Michael Praetorius, “Da pacem Domine” arranged by John Leavitt, “Old Joe Clark” arranged by Mary Goetze and “Ching a Ring Chaw (Great Gettin’ Up Morning)” arranged by Linda Spevacek.

“District level or mass choir events like the one coming up next month are just such wonderful opportunities — both musically and socially — for the participating students,” he said.

Recently, he and the Tech Chorale, along with Dan Alcott and the University Orchestra, teamed with Cookeville High School’s choral director Michael Choate for a local student performance that included Franz Schubert’s Mass in G major, which was written about 200 years ago when the composer was only 18 years old.

Zamer, who grew up near Blacksburg, Va., and earned his bachelor’s degree in voice performance and music education from Virginia Tech, taught at the high school level for three years and recalls his own experiences in a high school choral group.

“I participated in a district event for high school choral singers and was so impressed by the man who directed that choir, I knew then that I wanted both to inspire others in that same way and to work someday at the college level,” he said. “That’s why I’m happy to be at TTU. I believe it will pave the way for just those kinds of opportunities.”

That choral director went on to become one of Zamer’s mentors at Florida State University, where he earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees.

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