General - Sun, Oct. 2, 2016

With its most recent accomplishments of recording music for  actor Nate Parker's directorial debut, "The Birth of a Nation,"  and  the movie's soundtrack CD, which was released this week by Atlantic Records , the A Cappella Choir of Wiley College continues to share its music ministry around our country  and  the world.

Under the baton of its  artistic director, Stephen L. Hayes, who is an assistant professor of music at Wiley, the choir spent two days in November in t the College's chapel recording the scene and atmospheric music for the movie, including the hauntingly moving melody "I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray," featuring Lewis Keys '12. 

(Please click the link to learn more about the soundtrack for "The Birth of a Nation" and to hear the A Cappella Choir's recording of "I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray." …)
 Arranged by Hayes, the  melody  is a piece the choir is highly requested to perform.   Keys sang the melody in Wiley's choir  during his four years at the College; it is featured on the soundtrack and can now be purchased on ITunes.  The A Cappella Choir also  recorded background music for  the soundtrack's title "Stand" by Trey Songz, which can also now be purchased on ITunes. 

Other major accomplishments by the A Cappella Choir under Hayes' leadership include singing at the Hollywood premiere of "The Birth of a Nation" in September; traveling to Japan in 2014 to perform at the International Association of Methodist-related Schools, Colleges, and Universities conference in Hiroshima;singing at the White House in 2011 and 2013; performing in concert with Grammy-winning artist Rita Coolidge in 2011; and contributing music to  the soundtrack for the film "The Great Debaters" in 2007. The choir has also recently received offers to sing in Africa, Brazil, and Australia.

  "The Birth of a Nation," tells the story of Nat Turner's slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831. The movie won the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million, the largest purchase in Sundance history.

In top photo, the A Cappella Choir of Wiley College and its artistic director, Stephen L. Hayes(R), are pictured with  Nate Parker (L) at Wiley's 143rd Founders Observance Gala in March.

 In second photo,the choir is pictured with  Nate Parker and Stephen L. Hayes  at the November recording session of music for the movie, "The Birth of a Nation."  Please click the link to go inside the recording session!: