Under Paul Criswell's direction, voices from Lander's University Singers and Old Main Singers will fill the university's Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center, at 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 6. Titled " A Farewell Concert," the performance will be the last event Criswell will direct as a Lander professor.
Lately when asked a simple question like " How are you," Lander University professor of music Dr. Paul Criswell responds, in his usual humor, with a countdown. For instance, a few weeks ago he might have responded "50 more days." But now that number is much smaller and each day his disposition grows more relaxed and serene. After all, he is retiring at the end of the semester. But Criswell is not moving on without one last chance to amuse and entertain with the power of song.
Under Criswell's direction, the voices of Lander's University Singers and Old Main Singers will fill the university's Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center stage during a concert at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April. 6. Titled "A Farewell Concert," the performance will be the last concert Criswell will direct as a Lander professor.
Criswell received his bachelor's and master's degrees from West Virginia University and he received his doctorate from the University of Maryland. Since then he has devoted 37 years to educating young musicians, ranging from kindergarteners to graduate students. He has been on the faculty at Penn State University, Maryland University, St. Mary of the Plains College and Bethany College.
At Lander, he has enjoyed teaching young musicians for the past 21 years. Under his direction Lander choral students have performed throughout South Carolina and beyond, including Wesley Commons in Greenwood and the Biltmore House in North Carolina. He also helped music students charter a Lander chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national music fraternity, and he has shared the Lander stage with choral directors and students from high schools across the state, including Greenwood High School, Dorman High School and Strom Thurmond High School.
Criswell was presented with the Distinguished Professor of the Year award by his colleagues in 1994.
Of his experience at Lander, Criswell said " I'd like to thank all of my colleagues in the Department of Music and staff in the dean's office, as well as Eddie Shaw and the events staff for making my time at Lander such a pleasant ride."
On April 6, Criswell will share the stage with a number of Lander faculty and students. Faculty accompanists are Dr. Robert Kelley, Lander assistant professor of music, and Judi Neufeld, dean of Lander's College of Education. Student accompanists are Kelly Hammond and Matthew Miller of Greenwood. Student directors are Brian Creswell of Clinton and Heather Zeman of Pelion.
Performance soloists include Brandon Williams of Charleston, Stephanie Haje of Simpsonville and Tanisha Tolliver of Greer. Tolliver will perform "At Last," as part of a sequence of special numbers, which also includes a version of " Stand by Me," as performed by Lander's Thundering Herd Ensemble.
The performance is sponsored by Dex, publisher of the Embarq Yellow Pages. Admission for the concert is free. For information, call Lander's College of Arts and Humanties at 864-388-8323.