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School of Music to host Chamber Singers Reunion Concert, recognizes longtime director  

When Liberty University’s Chamber Singers join with alumni to perform their annual reunion concert at Homecoming, it will be a special occasion for Director and Professor Dr. Wayne Kompelien, who has served the group for 36 years.

Dr. Wayne Kompelien has led the Chamber Singers since 1988.

The concert, scheduled for Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Music and the Worship Arts, Concert Hall, will serve as a tribute to the longtime director, who will retire at the end of the 2023-24 academic year.

Kompelien joined Liberty in 1986 and formed The Chamber Singers, the School of Music’s premiere classical vocal ensemble, in 1988. The group performs repertoire from the Renaissance to Contemporary periods at special campus events, including Commencement, and previously at various locations on an annual tour.

This year’s reunion concert will feature 125 singers, including some from the original group. The free event will include spirituals, Christmas carols, and lullabies, as well as a rendition of Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell’s favorite Chamber Singers piece, “Ride on King Jesus,” a  highlight performed during Liberty’s main Commencement ceremonies for many years.  It will feature solos, duets, and trios by some of the group’s most talented singers from then and now, including one father-daughter combination, both taught by Kompelien at Liberty.

The Chamber Singers preforming at Liberty President Dondi Costin’s inauguration on Oct. 26 (Photo by KJ Jugar)

Kompelien said the Chamber Singers have always been a “close-knit” group that cultivates a “family” atmosphere. In the mid 1990s, the group began making a Spring Break trip each year in which they visit and perform for churches as well as provide choral workshops for schools.

“Some of my favorite memories are the tours. Those are very memorable things that the kids never forget,’” he said. “I remember when I went on tour and remember everything from those experiences and how close you are with your friends.”

“Truly, God used us in special ways many times to minister to His body when we were singing at concerts,” he added. “People loved it.”

Kompelien has taught music and voice classes at Liberty. He will remain an adjunct professor following his retirement.

Kompelien is also known for bringing opera to Liberty. In 1987, he directed the school’s first opera performance in Johann Straus’ “Die Fledermaus.” He will have the honor of directing the same opera again in January.

Dr. Kompelien directing the Chamber Singers at Commencement in 2000

Kompelien said he fell in love with opera as a sophomore in college when he was playing Snug the Joiner in Benjamin Britten’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“I remember the audience laughing at me, which is what we want,” he said. “And it got in my blood and I thought, ‘That was really cool in that you are really impacting people.’ Opera is a very unique genre. I love the music. It’s so beautiful.”

In addition to his work at Liberty, Kompelien has sung professionally with the Opera of the James and the Opera Roanoke, among others.

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