It was never the job: It was the commute. Scott Allen Jarrett finally decided to stop weekly round-trips from his Boston home to guide the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, and this season is his last.
So when the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra looked for a new director of choruses, it settled on a guy who lives in ... Charlotte.
He is Kenney Potter, director of choral activities at Wingate University, and he starts this fall.
“We were thrilled with the talent and level of professionalism of all of our qualified candidates, but Dr. Potter was the unanimous choice to lead our chorus,” said CSO music director Christopher Warren-Green, who served on the search committee. “It is a bonus that we are engaging a local candidate with deep roots in our region.”
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Potter holds degrees from Florida State University, Portland State University, and UNC Greensboro, and his conducting experience goes well beyond choruses: He has been artistic director and conductor of the Union Symphony Orchestra, and he annually conducts productions for Wingate University Opera.
Like many musicians, he keeps fingers in countless pies. So he’s director of adult choirs at First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, a guest clinician at festivals – ranging from Wisconsin to Georgia to Kenya this year – and a composer/arranger. He’s also founder and editor of Wingate University Music Press; it publishes Folk Songs of South Africa, a teaching series he co-authored with Dalene Hoogenhout, conductor of the Wits Choir of Johannesburg.
As the CSO prepares to usher Potter in, the organization sends Jarrett off with its Sally Ann Hall Spirit of the Symphony Award.
He has led the Oratorio Singers for 11 seasons while holding positions as music director of Boston University’s Marsh Chapel and Boston’s Back Bay Chorale. (He received a promotion at Boston University that will require more of his time.)
Cheri Martin has also received a Spirit of the Symphony Award. She served as the CSO’s finance director for 20 years and performed Human Resources and Information Technology duties before leaving this winter.
“Cheri could have walked away from the CSO many times, taking her finance skills into the for-profit sector,” said orchestra President Bob Stickler. “Benefits, salary, and working conditions would have been far better. She stayed because of her dedication to the CSO, but more importantly, her dedication to the people she worked with and for.”