Harleston Chosen as a National Conductor for Kennedy Center Performance

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Harleston, Shelia Dr.PRINCESS ANNE, MD - When "The 105 Voices of History," the nation's first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) national choir, perform at the renowned Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Sunday, August 30, at 5:30 p.m., Dr. Sheila McDonald Harleston, director of choral activities at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, will be one of the conductors.

    Harleston was selected to conduct the choir along with three other choral conductors from among the 105 HBCUs, Dr. Carl Smith of Kentucky State University, Dr. David Morrow of Morehouse College and Stephen Hayes of Wiley College.  Two of UMES' Concert Choir members and music education majors, Amma Debrah and Shakia Paylor, were chosen to perform in the choir.  This year represents the second annual event held as part of National HBCU Week. 

    "To have been selected as a national conductor of 'The 105 Voices of History' for 2009 is quite an honor," said Harleston.  "The inaugural concert at the Kennedy Center last year was truly an outstanding performance.  The bar has been set high for this year.  Needless to say, I am quite excited and anxiously await the concert."

    During her career in music, Harleston has received many accolades.  She received the University System of Maryland Board of Regents' 2008 "Regents Faculty Award" for mentoring, the UMES Department of Fine Arts' Chairman's Award and "Outstanding Faculty Member," and the UMES School of the Arts and Professions' "Outstanding Faculty Member."   Harleston was also listed in the seventh, eighth and ninth editions of Who's Who Among America's Teachers.  She served as a 2008 regional director for "The 105 Voices of History."   Under her 19-year direction, the UMES Concert Choir has performed nationally and internationally, most notably at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Washington National Cathedral, the United Nations Zeus Area and the Maryland Black Caucus in Annapolis.  Harleston holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Norfolk State University and a Doctor of Education from Wilmington University.

    This year's event is hosted by nationally syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner, a graduate of Tuskegee University.  Renowned HBCU guest artist Take 6, graduates of Oakwood College, will perform with "The 105 Voices of History."   For ticket information, contact the Kennedy Center Box Office at 202-416-4600 or visit kennedycenter.org.

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    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580, gcstephens@umes.edu.

    Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, sstreet@umes.edu.