Alumni Choir

The Maryville College Homecoming Choir will present its annual concert on Saturday, Oct. 19, as part of the College’s Homecoming festivities. The choir, which features former MC choir members, as well as students in the Maryville College Concert Choir, will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre.

This concert is part of the series of the choir events associated with the college’s Bicentennial celebration. The concert will feature favorite choral selections suggested by alumni. Our directors this year will be Stacey Wilner and Alan Eleazar; also, alumni Louise Wyman '57 and James M. Laster'56 will be conducting their own compositions, and Paul John Rudoi will conduct his commissioned work.  

“The alumni wanted to commission a musical work that will capture the Maryville College spirit through sound,” said Director of Choral Activities Stacey Wilner. “Future generations of young musicians will be able to share in the same sense of loyalty and connection to Maryville College philosophies that the alumni experienced during their time here as students. It honors the past while also investing in the future.”  See more about this work here.

 Guest directors include MC alumni James M. Laster '56Louise Wyman '57 and Paul John Rudoi.

James LasterThe spring before his freshman year in college, James M. Laster, attended a Maryville commencement exercise and heard the Maryville College choir sing.  Although he had dreams of a career as an orthodontist, this musical experience changed his life.  Singing in the MC choir had such an influence on him that during his junior year he added music courses to his studies and graduated with a double major: biology and music history.  He continued his studies in music earning the MA and Ph.D. degrees from Peabody College, Nashville.  In addition he earned a certificate in organ from the Mozarteum Summer Academy, and earned a MSLS (music emphasis) from Catholic University.

He held teaching positions in Teheran, Iran; Beirut, Lebanon, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, and retired from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2000.  During his career he conducted choral ensembles and was musical director for musical theatre productions, served as organist in several churches, and composed music for various ensembles.  He is the compiler of  music catalogs published by Scarecrow Press. Since his retirement, he has followed a new career as an actor performing in many stage productions and doing some film work.

Louise Ogden WymanLouise Ogden Wyman, class of 1957, earned her B.A. in piano from Maryville College, and A.A.G.O. degree from the American Guild of Organists,  and a M.Mus. in choral conducting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Louise began composing mostly liturgical vocal and choral music in 1961, and later created music for school orchestras and bands. For many years, she served alternately as choir director and/or organist at many area churches, primarily at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Knoxville.  She spent three years in Tehran, Iran, teaching in a Presbyterian mission school, where she helped edit the Persian hymnal, played organ for church, sang in a choral ensemble directed by Jim Laster, and taught some piano lessons.  Her first composition in 1961 was inspired by short responses on the Seven Last Words of Christ which was sung at Maryville College.  Louise also played double bass with Maryville College Community Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Symphony, as well as in small ensembles. She worked at TVA, taught language arts and music in parochial schools, and has taught voice and piano in her home studio. 

Paul John Rudoi is an award-winning composer, conductor, tenor vocalist, and arts entrepreneur. Deemed “indesputably unique, confident, and innovative” through the American Prize, Paul John Rudoi’s award-winning compositions have been commissioned and performed by various ensembles and artists throughout North America and Europe, including Orphei Dränger, the Vancouver Chamber Singers, the British Trombone Society, Cantus, and the National Lutheran Choir. His work has garnered numerous grants from the Jerome Foundation, the ACF, MRAC, MSAB, the NEA, and ASCAP. His music is published through PJR Music alongside Graphite, Santa Barbara, Walton, Morningstar, and ECS music publishers.

As a professional tenor vocalist, Paul has performed and recorded a wide range of music in professional ensembles nationwide including Seraphic Fire, The Santa Fe Desert Chorale, True Concord, the Oregon Bach Festival, and most notably as a member of the full-time vocal ensemble Cantus.  During his eight year tenure with Cantus, he premiered dozens of new works for male chorus, traveled on four continents, and advocated for arts education and empowerment through education outreach opportunities nationwide.

Paul is also a fierce advocate for new music trends, resources, and issues.  His most recent project, "Consortio," is designed to help composers, conductors, and ensembles find common themes and interests for consortium-based commissioning while offering tools and services to make commissioning music more readily accessible and feasible.  Visit consortio.io for more information.

Paul holds degrees from the Hartt School and the University of Oregon, and his teachers have included Dr. Sharon Paul, Dr. Craig Phillips, Libby Larsen, and Dr. Edward Bolkovac.