About the Conway Men's Chorus
To accomplish this mission, the Conway Men’s Chorus will
· Provide the Conway area with public concerts of the best in men’s choral music expertly performed under skilled leadership and direction,
· Help enrich lives in our community by demonstrating and fostering a love of music,
· Cultivate and enhance the public’s appreciation of choral music as a desired and appreciated art form through a wide range of musical styles and genres,
· Provide an opportunity for male singers to participate in men’s choral singing, and
· Provide enjoyable fellowship experiences, music education and opportunities for musical self-expression for all chorus members.
Overlying values that help shape and focus all chorus endeavors are
· Friendship – to create collegiality and camaraderie among the members of the chorus
· Respect – to always treat each other with integrity and support each member at his own level of musical knowledge or singing ability
· Quality – to work toward artistic excellence and professional appearance while retaining the passion and joy of the amateur
· Responsibility – to be openly accountable with high integrity in all fiscal and artistic endeavors to our members, audience and community
In all things, the Conway Men’s Chorus strives to be
· Known for excellence in the performance of choral music throughout our community,
· Inspiring through dynamic chorus performances,
· Entertaining through exciting stage presentations,
· Exemplary of our love of music, joy of performing and commitment to excellence in the community,
· The Leader among non-audition, volunteer, men’s choral groups in Arkansas
Chorus Board Members
Mike McCullars, Chairman (501-327-5151, email@example.com)
Mike McCullars (Baritone) is a charter member of the Chorus and has been a board member for several years, serving currently as the Board Chairman. He is the Emiritus Director of Research and Special Projects at AETN (Arkansas Educational Television Network) and an Adjunct Instructor of Communication at the University of Central Arkansas. He has a long music background of singing in various church and community choirs from childhood to the present. Mike has performed in many musical theatre productions through the years including favorites “Oliver”, “Evita”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “1776” and “Man of La Mancha”. He also played trumpet in high school and college as well as earning a college minor in music education from (now) Missouri State University. Mike joined the chorus because of his love of singing, for the fellowship with the men, and to give back to others the joy of music. As the Chorus Motto says, “Let all men sing so that music never dies”!
Kelly Boswell, Vice-Chairman
Kelly Boswell (Baritone) has been an active Chorus member since 2005 and board member for several years including serving as a section leader. He is a 35-year member of the engineering team at the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN), a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, having held a CBTE certification by that society. Kelly is an emeritus member of the board of directors of the Arkansas State Employees' Association having served as Secretary (4 years) and as a District Director (12 years). He is an Amateur Radio operator, holds an Amateur Extra License and served as a statewide net control station for many years. Kelly is a Master Mason and was the Worshipful Master of Green Grove Masonic Lodge #107 F.& A.M., in Conway in 2014. Kelly came to a Chorus performance and enjoyed it so much that he knew he had to join! He loves singing and enjoys fellowship with the other men.
Phil Boudreaux (Bass) is a charter member of the Chorus having been a member its debut performance of the National Anthem at a Wampus Cats high school football game. He also serves as the Bass Section Leader for the Chorus. Phil is a retired Attorney/Administrator and Lt. Colonel (USA). He brings a lifetime of singing to the chorus having sung in school and church from a very early age. A member of the 1967 Arkansas All-State Choir, Phil has also performed in such memorable Broadway musical as “Li'l Abner” and “Guys and Dolls”. A former member of a barbershop quartet, Phil enjoys the singing and fellowship associated with the Conway Men's Chorus.
Board Member Emeritus
Chorus Section Leaders
Kevin Knell, Tenor
Sage Shaddox, Tenor II
Jim Lane, Baritone
Phil Boudreaux, Bass
With the chorus since Fall 2009, Jordan has served as the men’s chorus assistant director from Fall 2013 to Spring 2018. A Jonesboro native, he received his Bachelor of Music Education from Arkansas Tech University in 2008 and his Master of Music from the University of Central Arkansas in 2010. Aside from directing the Conway Men’s chorus, Jordan is a choral scholar for the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock as well as an active member of the Arkansas Chamber Singers. He also is one of the founding members of the Link Ensemble, Arkansas’ first professional vocal ensemble, which is based in Fayetteville.
Chorus Pianist and Webmaster
Paul started playing the piano before he was able to read. A Conway native, he grew up playing in church, and accompanying various groups throughout high school, college, and beyond. He is a University of Central Arkansas alumni, graduating in 2006 with a Bachelors of Business Administration, and in 2010 with a Masters in Business Administration. He currently serves as the Conway Market Leader for Edafio Technology Partners. Paul and his wife, Meredith, have been married since 2009 and have two children, Karis and Levi.
Q. What is the Conway Men’s Chorus?
Q. How is the Chorus funded?
A. The Conway Men’s Chorus is mostly self-funded through donations of time and money from its members as well as partially funded through the generous sponsorships from local businesses and donations from concert patrons. You can find more information on the Supporters page.
Q. When and where do you rehearse?
A. CMC rehearses on Monday evenings from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Woodland Heights Baptist Church, 4215 Prince Street, at the corner of Hogan Road and Prince Street in Conway, Arkansas. Rehearsals begin for the Fall season on the second Monday in September ending with the concert performance and, after a Holiday break, resume on the first Monday in February ending with the concert performance.
Q. When and where do you perform?
A. The Conway Men's Chorus performs two (2) regular, free concerts each year in the Fall and Spring. Performances are in the 1,200-seat Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall on Beatrice Powell Drive on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas.
Q. What time are your performances?
A. The two annual performances – Spring and Fall – begin at 7:00 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. All seats are general seating with no prior reservations required.
Q. How do I get tickets to a performance?
A. There is no admission for the performances and parking is free.
Q. Are the singers professionals?
Q. Are the singers paid to perform?
Q. What if I don’t think that I can sing very well?
A. Most men sing better than they think and we are not looking for accomplished soloists. Rather, anyone with a willing heart, open mind and basic musical talent will find that they are welcome and will fit right in with the Chorus.
the Men’s Chorus sing for me or my organization?
History of the Conway Men’s Chorus
It was early Fall in 1998 when then Arkansas State Representative Tom Courtway invited five of his friends – Jim Beal, Bill Johnson, Richard Hardin, Bill Ward and Arch Jones – to have lunch with him at his Conway law offices. All of these men had some musical affiliation and appreciation. Courtway declared, “I think we should start a men’s chorus. Conway needs it, and it would be a lot of fun.” From that simple beginning, Richard Hardin, a choral director with the Conway Public Schools, began to direct rehearsals and shortly a group of nearly 60 men sang the National Anthem at a Conway High School football game, and later appeared at the Chamber of Commerce’s Second Monday Luncheon before presenting carols as part of the annual downtown Conway Christmas Parade as their first official concert.
Hardin directed the group for seven seasons before turning over the baton to then Arkansas State Senator and former university music professor Gilbert Baker, who directed it for two seasons. Next came Bill Ward, a church choir director, along with his wife, Suzy, as pianist, who directed the Chorus for five seasons. Other directors since then have been former church choir directors Darrell Spigner, Carlos Ichter and Kelley Erstine.
There have been four board chairmen since beginning in 1998: Tom Courtway, Jim Beal, Bill Ferguson and current president Mike McCullars.
New Direction and Leadership
In January 2009, Sam Huskey, choral director with the Conway Public Schools, became the director of the Chorus until handing over to Jordan Bennett in February 2018. Paul Bradley has served as primary accompanist since the beginning of 2006.
Concert Tradition Continues
Since the Fall of 1998, the Chorus has presented at
least two full concerts each year. Each Spring has been a Pops
concert with a wide range of music genres from classical to
contemporary, country to folk, doo-wop to patriotic, and pop-rock to
barbershop. Each Fall has brought a Holiday concert featuring
a variety of traditional secular and sacred Christmas and seasonal
Chorus members have been men from high school age into their 80s. They have had a full range of musical abilities and knowledge. They have been men from all walks of life and in various fields of employment including agriculture, arts, broadcasting, business, construction, education, finance, labor, law, medicine, music, sales, and retired. But, simply, members of the Conway Men’s Chorus have been and continue to be men who simply love to sing and want to give back to their community the joy of music.