Roland Carter remains a role model for young musicians | News

Former professor Roland Carter had a significant impact on the University of Tennessee Chattanooga by training young musicians and providing a safe space for every passionate student.

The UTC Chamber Singers were featured on NPR for the third time, performing “You Must Have That True Religion” and “In Bright Mansions Above”. Both plays were written by Carter.

Kevin Ford, a UC Foundation professor in the music department, spoke about the band’s overall experience.

“Being cast on a national broadcast allows today’s singers to see what can be the result of hard work and concentrated effort. This level of recognition sets the bar for every new generation of students to achieve,” Ford said.

Carter began his musical journey in Virginia at Hampton Institute after graduating from Hampton High School in Chattanooga in 1960. He graduated during high segregation and was barred from attending UTC as a student, even if he wanted to.

Carter always knew what he wanted to do, so after graduating from college and earning his master’s degree, he taught at UT Chattanooga Institute for 25 years before returning to UTC. One of Carter’s proudest accomplishments was becoming a department head at a school he was not allowed to attend.

“It was a challenge. And I think part of the challenge was the fact that integration changed the scene. And I wanted to be part of it. »

For nearly 30 years, he was the only full-time black faculty member at the Fine Arts Center.

He is also very proud to be able to conduct in major concert halls such as Lincoln Center in New York, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

However, he said his greatest achievement was when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed his arrangement titled “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in 2018. The song, according to Carter, is not just a black national anthem as it is heavily subtitled.

“It wasn’t about black and white for me. It was about the abuse of African Americans. I think that translates to mutual abuse in general.

Carter retired from UTC in 2013 but never stopped inspiring and encouraging young musicians. He owns a publishing house, MAR-VEL, which focuses on African-American composers.

Rebecca R. Santistevan