Renee Grant-Williams
Renee Grant-Williams

Music City Community Chorus Announces Debut Concert

Nashville, TN, January 10, 2007 --( The newly formed Music City Community Chorus, under the direction of nationally known vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams, is performing its debut concert on Tuesday, January 30 at 7:30 pm at Christ Church Cathedral located at 900 Broadway in Nashville. Accompanied by the thirty-two-piece Excelsior Chamber Orchestra, the chorus will perform Beethoven’s Mass in C Major and Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria.

Mayor Bill Purcell announced the formation of the non-profit Music City Community Chorus back in August of 2006, placing the sixty-five-voice chorus under the umbrella of the Metro Nashville Community Education program.

“I’m amazed by how quickly this group has developed an identity and sound,” says director Renee Grant-Williams. “When you join a chorus you become a small part of a fine-tuned, but very large instrument—one with perfection on its mind. It requires hard work and discipline, but the rewards are great. You get to sing. You get to harmonize with your friends. You get to perform classical music in concert without years of training. How cool is that?”

For the Music City Community Chorus’ initial outing, conductor Grant-Williams chose the first of only two masses composed by Ludwig van Beethoven: Mass in C major, Opus 86. In composing the mass in 1807, Beethoven deviated from the prevailing structural and harmonic conventions. By going against convention, though, Beethoven doomed the work to a poorly received premier. Prince Esterhazy II, who had commissioned the piece, dismissed it as “unbearably ridiculous and detestable.”

Says Grant-Williams, “Things did not go well at the premiere of the C major Mass. The structure and harmonies were unorthodox; the singers staged a rebellion, and the client hated it. Today it stands as an innovative work of genius.”

Primarily known as a vocal coach, Grant-Williams’ conducting credits include positions as founder and director of the San Francisco Community Chorus; director, Division of Vocal Music Performing Ensembles at the University of California, Berkeley; chorus master, Opera Division, Banff School of Fine Arts; and choir director Second Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN.

To Grant-Williams the birth of the Music City Community Chorus is an important manifestation of a larger trend in Nashville, home to a remarkable diversity of music that has been overshadowed historically by the international appeal of country music. “These are exciting times for classical music in Nashville. The advent of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center has brought fresh focus to the realm of classical music,” says Grant-Williams.

This debut performance is offered free to the public. Parking is available in lots A, B, and C at the back and sides of Christ Church Cathedral. The concert begins promptly at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, January 30. Call 615/259-4900 for an interview or additional information. Audition information for the spring season may be found at

Elaine Collins