A! Magazine for the Arts

Matthew Potterton, ETSU music department chair, also leads the Voices of the Mountains.

Matthew Potterton, ETSU music department chair, also leads the Voices of the Mountains.

Matthew Potterton leads music department

July 31, 2018

Matthew Potterton grew up playing bass in the family band. “We sang folk, country and a little bluegrass perfect training for moving to Tennessee someday,” he says.

Before he came to East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, he worked at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. “A little over five years ago, I decided to look for a bigger program with more opportunities and decided to apply for jobs around the country. I was fortunate to have several interviews, but Johnson City seemed to be the best fit for my family and me,” he says.

He is the chair of the department of music and the director of choral and vocal activities at ETSU. He just finished his first year as the choral director of Voices of the Mountains.

“I’m very proud of our first year’s performances. Next year promises to be even more exciting. On Oct. 28, the voices are teaming up with the Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra to present a concert of holiday favorites. We will also perform with a professional quartet singing Eric Whitacre’s ‘Five Hebrew Love Songs.’ In addition, we will perform with the symphony for our annual Christmas program and in April, we team up with the symphony to perform Brahm’s ‘Requiem.’ I am very excited about this year,” he says.

The Voices of the Mountains hold auditions July 30 beginning at 7 p.m., at the Renaissance Center in Kingsport, Tennessee. “Folks can call 423-392-8423 to schedule an audition. The audition will take about five minutes, and you do not need to prepare anything in advance. I promise that the audition is low stress. If July 30 is a conflict, I can audition people at ETSU most work days,” Potterton says.

Visit www.symphonyofthemountains.orgor call 423-392-8423 to find out about the rest of the season and how to buy tickets.

Under Dr. Potterton’s direction, the ETSU Chorale has toured throughout the country and hopes to tour internationally next year. The choir recently had the opportunity to open for the world famous men’s ensemble, Chanticleer. In a master class, members of Chanticleer noted the ETSU Chorale was an elite university ensemble, “We hear choirs from around the world and few sound as good as this choir,” they said. In April 2016, the Chorale was selected to sing for the Tennessee Music Educator’s Association’s conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

In addition to conducting, Dr. Potterton has appeared as a tenor soloist in recital and on stage. Productions include Tobias in “Sweeney Todd,” Alfred in “Die Fledermaus,” Nanki-poo in “The Mikado,” Barnaby in “Hello Dolly” and Tamino in “The Magic Flute.”

He has appeared as guest soloist for Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass” and “Creation,” Bach’s B Minor Mass and “St Matthew Passion,” Handel’s “Judas Maccabaeus” and “Messiah” and Beethoven’s Mass in C Major and Symphony No. 9. Dr. Potterton has toured internationally with Men in Blaque, a men’s ensemble from Southern California. This group has won gold medals in world choir competitions and is planning to compete again this summer in Wales.

He has conducted choirs and taught voice at Baker University (Baldwin City, Kansas); the University of California, Irvine; Carroll College (Waukesha, Wisconsin); Alverno College (Milwaukee, Wisconsin); and Colorado University, Boulder. He has also taught elementary music, middle school choirs and an award winning high school choir. Having worked with all ages, he is a frequent clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor. He holds a doctorate of musical arts in The Literature and Performance of Choral Music from Colorado University, Boulder, and also has a master’s degree in vocal performance and choral conducting from the University of California, Irvine.

ETSU offers many student ensembles