Ohio University Singers to be featured in New Year’s Eve concert “United in Song” airing on PBS

Published: December 21, 2022 Author: Samantha Pelham

The Ohio University Singers, an auditioned, mixed choral ensemble in the School of Music, will join this year’s “United in Song” concert premiering on PBS Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. EST.

The concert, hosted by Tony Award nominees and Broadway icons Christopher Jackson (Hamilton) and Renée Fleming (Carousel), brings together performers from across the nation and all music genres for a one-night event that encourages the nation to come together and celebrate through song the irrepressible strengths as Americans.

The artists, including the Ohio University Singers, will be backed by the American Pops Orchestra, led by conductor Luke Frazier who is also an alumnus of Ohio University’s School of Music in the College of Fine Arts. Frazier, the founder and conductor of the American Pops Orchestra, has continued to engage with the School of Music and OHIO students since graduating in 2009 and invited the Ohio University Singers to participate in this collaborative project. 

The ensemble, led by Dr. Bradley Naylor, assistant professor in the School of Music, originally performed the “United in Song” concert on Sept. 22 at the People’s Bank Theater in Marietta, Ohio where it was filmed for the New Year’s Eve television broadcast. 

"This type of experience allows our students to be immersed in a professional music production atmosphere in which dozens of musicians expertly prepared their contributions which were then woven together at an exhilarating pace to produce a polished performance," Naylor said. "In addition to performing on stage with these renowned artists, students were also able to talk with them about the career trajectory of a professional musician."

Joining OHIO’s choral ensemble that night for the taping included Broadway performer and Drama Desk Awardee, Mandy Gonzalez; Christian/Gospel singer, songwriter and eight-time Grammy nominee, Natalie Grant; classical clarinetist, Ricardo Morales; pianist and composer, Jacqueline Schwab; Grammy and Emmy Award-Winning baritone, Reginald Smith, Jr.; Juno Award-Winning bassist and Bluegrass performer, Rhonda Vincent; and Academy of Country Music Award-Winning singer, Brett Young.

This third annual concert will also highlight three of the nation’s historic theaters including the People’s Bank Theater in Marietta, Ohio, the Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta, Georgia, and The Egyptian Theatre in Boise Idaho.

Other performers for the concert include Tony Award-Winners Matt Doyle (Company) and Joaquina Kalukango (Paradise Square), Grammy-nominated Carolina Gaitán (Encanto), alternative pop duo Wendlo, and award-winning singer, songwriter Raye Zaragoza, as well as Boise State University Meistersingers and Spelman College Glee Club.

The special will also feature a newly commissioned performance by New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Tiler Peck and soloist Roman Mejia.

The 90-minute concert will also be available to stream on PBS.org and the PBS Video App.