About the Conway Men's Chorus

 

Our Mission: 
The mission of the Conway Men’s Chorus is to give back to our community the gift of music through quality, entertaining, and enjoyable performances.

 

 

Our Actions: 

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.

 

 

Our Values: 

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

 

 

 Our Vision: 

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

 

 

Our Motto:
“So that Music Never Dies, Let All Men Sing

 

Chorus Board Members

Mike McCullars, Chairman (501-472-8758, info@conwaymenschorus.org)

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 30-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. In 2014, Kelly was the Worshipful Master of Green Grove Masonic Lodge #107 F.& A.M., in Conway. 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

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.

 

Jim Lane
Jim Lane (Baritone) is an attorney practicing in Conway, Arkansas.  While he does not consider his singing career to be nearly as interesting as his fellow members of the Chorus Board, he has been a faithful member since the beginning always offering a word of encouragement and willingness to sing.

 

Tom Courtway, Board Member Emeritus
Retired President of the University of Central Arkansas, Tom finds time to provide advice as a Board Member Emeritus while continuing to sing with the chorus that he founded in 1998.

 

Chorus Section Leaders

Kevin Knell, Tenor I

Sage Shaddox, Tenor II

Jim Lane, Baritone

Phil Boudreaux, Bass

 

Chorus Conductor
Sam Huskey
 

Sam Huskey is a very active choral conductor in the central Arkansas area. He is starting his 20th year as a choral conductor and his 10th year at Conway where he is the High School Choir Director and Department Chair.  He has been a guest clinician at choral festivals in the state as well as workshop presenter at state level conferences and educational cooperatives around the state.  He has been named Junior High director of the year as well as High School director of the year for the West Central Region of the Arkansas Choral Directors Association. He has been an active member of ArkCDA, ACDA, and ArkMEA, leading the latter organization as President 2005 to 2006 and serving on the board of directors four years prior to that.  He conducted the award winning Central Arkansas Children's Choir (now known as VOCA) based out of the University of Central Arkansas. 

 

The choirs under Huskey's direction have consistently received Division I Superior Ratings, performing in Missouri, Oklahoma, the Clinton Presidential Library, and Walt Disney World in Florida.  He was the state chairman for MENC's National Anthem Project.

 

Mr. Huskey received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Williams Baptist College in 1995 and his Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Central Arkansas in 1997.   

 

Sam has three children -- Madison, Joshua and Cadence. 

 

Chorus Assistant Music Director
Jordan Bennett
 

With the chorus since Fall 2009, Jordan has served as the men’s chorus assistant director since Fall 2013. 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. He is also the associate minister of music at First United Methodist Church in Morrilton as well as an active member of the Arkansas Chamber Singers and the Link ensemble, Arkansas' first professional vocal ensemble. He lives in Conway with his wife Taylor and their dog, Chloe, and cat, Callie

 

Chorus Pianist and Webmaster

Paul Bradley

 

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 works at Acxiom Corporation as a Senior Client Services Manager.

 

Paul and his wife, Meredith, have been married for over 5 years and have two children, Karis and Levi.

 

Chorus FAQs:

Q. What is the Conway Men’s Chorus?
A.  Since 1998, men from all walks of life and with a wide range of musical talent have come together for the joy of singing and the desire to give back to our community.  With more than 50 singing members, the Chorus presents two (2) regular, free concerts performing annually to live audiences of between 650 and 750 people. 



Q. What is the mission of the Conway Men’s Chorus?

A. The mission of the Conway Men’s Chorus is to give back to our community the gift of music through quality, entertaining, and enjoyable performances.
 

 


 

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?
A. All of the singers in the Conway Men’s Chorus are volunteers and receive no compensation for their participation in the chorus. The members come from all professions and walks of life – lawyers, doctors, dentists, bankers, sales, teachers, administrators, business owners, executives, professionals, agriculture, government, students and retirees. Some members of the Chorus have received professional music training including music degrees and some are by vocation working within the professional and/or educational music world.  Most are average everyday men who just love to sing.

 


 

Q. Are the singers paid to perform?
A. All of the singers in the Conway Men's Chorus are volunteers and receive no individual payment for their participation.

 


 

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. 

 


 

Q. Will the Men’s Chorus sing for me or my organization?
A. As an all volunteer chorus, our available rehearsal and performance time is extremely limited.  While we would love to do so, we regret that we generally must restrict our performances to those regularly scheduled performances in the Spring and Fall.  

 

 

History of the Conway Men’s Chorus

 

Getting Started

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.

 

Becoming Established

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.


During its history, more than 240 men from Conway and the surrounding central Arkansas area have sung with the chorus at some time, with about 55 participating each concert season.  Nearly one-third of the founding members of the Chorus have been able to continue singing all through the years to the present. 
 

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 current director of the Chorus. 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 favorites.
 

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.