Spring blooms with the return of the Joan Chambers Concert Series

The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is excited to announce the return of the Joan Chambers Concert Series with three concerts scheduled for April and June. The concerts, which are free and open to the public, will be performed in the Mary Lou Campana Chapel and Lecture Center (150 Finoli Drive, Greensburg, PA 15601).

Headshots of performers Skip Napier and Tim Heavner On Saturday, April 1, Music at Pitt-Greensburg welcomes Skip Napier, baritone, and Tim Heavner, piano. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will feature the music of Brahms, Wolf, Schubert, Rossini, Burleigh, Gershwin, Mendelssohn, and Gounod. The two performers will provide a tour of styles ranging from art song, to opera and oratorio, to spirituals.

Praised by critics for having a “strong, colorful, yet clear tone,” baritone Skip Napier is passionate about drawing audiences deeply into the “message of the music.” His work as a soloist and chorister has taken him to six countries throughout Europe and the Americas. Napier performs as a member of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Opera Chorus, and Resonance Works. Committed to expanding the role of what it means to be a 21st-century musician, Napier’s work often takes him beyond the concert stage and into the community. He has appeared as a guest artist at Community Life in Homestead and at Locust Grove retirement community in Munhall. He also is a substitute music teacher. A graduate of St. Olaf College, he has studied at the Stuttgart Festival Ensemble under the world-renowned conductor Helmuth Rilling.

Timothy Heavner moved to Pittsburgh in the fall of 2012 to accept a teaching position as the choral teacher and the music director for the Senior School Musical at Sewickley Academy. He has since expanded his duties to include teaching band and orchestra. Heavner has worked extensively with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh as a singer in the professional core, accompanist, and rehearsal assistant. He currently serves as the music director for the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Heavner has appeared on stage with the Butler County Symphony Orchestra playing piano, harpsichord, and celesta, and he was recently featured as a jazz piano soloist with Dee Daniels. Heavner also serves as the music director and organist at the Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon.

“The Joan Chambers Concert Series is privileged to showcase Western Pennsylvania's finest performers on our stage in the Mary Lou Campana Chapel and Lecture Center,” said Chris Bartley, director of music at Pitt-Greensburg. “Our region is teaming with incredible voice talent, from the powerful voice of Mr. Napier, to the creative and intimate sound of the Camerata, to the next generation of singers in the Heinz Chapel Choir. Together, their voices remind us that the sharing of song is a sharing of hearts and souls, connecting us and showing us what we as a people can be together.”

Group photo of the Heinz Chapel ChoirThe internationally recognized Heinz Chapel Choir (HCC) will perform Friday, April 21 at 8 p.m. (please note the special start time). This is the choir’s first appearance at Pitt-Greensburg since their last visit in 2019. The audience will be treated to a taste of the music that the HCC plans to perform on their May tour of Northern England, Scotland, and North Wales. The HCC is the University of Pittsburgh’s mixed a cappella choir whose membership is drawn by auditions from Pitt’s student body. In addition to performing in the historic Heinz Memorial Chapel, HCC frequently visits Pitt-Greensburg where it enjoys the intimacy of the Mary Lou Campana Chapel and Lecture Center for its performances as part of the Joan Chambers Concert Series. Central to the HCC’s tradition is its identity as a home for students at Pitt who study a wide range of academics but share a love for choral music, a dedication to excellence, and a passion for reaching the hearts and souls of their audience.

Susan Rice, DMA, directs the Heinz Chapel Choir. A senior lecturer in Music at Pitt since 2014, she also teaches the aural skills and sight-singing courses and serves the Music Department as the associate director of Undergraduate Studies. She brings a wide experience in conducting traditional choruses of varying sizes, including chamber choirs, symphonic choirs, opera choruses, and vocal jazz ensembles to her role at Pitt. She also has taught conducting, music theory, music history, class piano, and interdisciplinary courses. She completed a doctor of musical arts (DMA) in choral literature and conducting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master of music in choral conducting at Western Michigan University, and a bachelor of music in music education at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Group photo of the Pittsburgh CamerataRounding out the series will be a performance by the Pittsburgh Camerata on Tuesday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. The Pittsburgh Camerata is a professional vocal ensemble committed to presenting imaginative and inspiring choral programs. Led by Artistic Director Mark A. Anderson, the selectively chosen singers offer an annual public subscription series throughout the Pittsburgh area, feature more than 30 videos on their YouTube channel, and enjoy interacting with their active social media fan base. Their repertoire features solo and choral music from around the world.

Anderson, a native of Montana, is director of Music at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, artistic director of the Pittsburgh Camerata, and executive director of the Music in A Great Space and Music for Midsummer Nights concert series. He also serves as the American Choral Directors Association PA Repertoire & Resources Chair for Music in Worship. Anderson studied at Westminster Choir College, Indiana University, The Graduate Theological Foundation, and The Eastman School of Music. He has presented recitals and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Europe, and Japan. Performances, both live and recorded, have been broadcast on the BBC and NPR. An active composer, he has won awards for his choral compositions and hymns.

The Joan Chambers Concert Series is possible through the generous support of George F. Chambers, president emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. It brings local, national, and international artists to the campus for performances of the highest professional caliber. The series is named in honor of Joan Chambers, the late wife of President Chambers, who was an ardent supporter and representative of Pitt‐Greensburg in the community for many years. While her interests were widespread, she especially enjoyed participating in book discussion groups and attending cultural events. The Children’s Literature Collection in Millstein Library, another of her passions, was developed and named in her honor.

Publication Date

Monday, March 27, 2023 - 10:45