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The Holiday Season Gives Light to David Morrow's Love for Music

By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

The darkening days during the soft chill of early winter becomes David Morrow’s time to shine.

It comes from the music that he leads – music that forms the aural backdrop for November and December – signaling the beginning of another holiday season.

“People come from everywhere to experience our annual Christmas concert to start their season, so it’s always a lot of fun,” said Morrow, a 1980 graduate who is associate professor of music and director of the renowned Morehouse College Glee Club. “I’ve had people tell me that they leave directly from the concert to hang decorations or put up their Christmas tree.”

The holiday season is only one of the times of the year where Morrow’s love of music shows. He is a professor, leads the Wendell P. Whalum Concert Singers, and is the conductor of the Atlanta Singers.

And just as much as people love to hear the results of his work, Morrow says he just loves putting it all together for audiences.

“Singing is joyful, as well,” he said. “But it’s not always as rewarding for me as is being able to make and share the music with other people.”

Morrow was born in Rochester, N.Y. His father dabbled in gospel quartets while his mother “loves music,” Morrow said with a chuckle. “But she will tell you she can’t carry a tune.”

All genres of music wafted through their home. The effect: Morrow always wanted to be a musician.

“I’ve always been involved in musicals and singing all through school,” he said. “Coming to Morehouse (as a student), I wasn’t looking at music as a major, but as one of my former students said to me, ‘Music chose me. I didn’t choose music.’”

It was then that Morrow came under the tutelage of Wendell P. Whalum, a stern task-master who wanted the best from his students.

“It was wonderful. Very challenging,” said Morrow. “He did not let down any standards for anybody. You had to reach the standard. But he himself was one of the finest musicians in the country.”

After graduating from Morehouse (he was class valedictorian) and working by Whalum’s side as assistant director of the Glee Club and then taking over when Whalum died, Morrow found himself adopting many of the same teaching standards as his mentor.

“Precision matters – even the smallest details. He won’t let it go until he gets what he wants,” said junior music major Tyrone Clinton Jr. “But it really doesn’t matter because that is what sets great musicians apart.”

“It’s not for the sake of being demanding,” Morrow said. “But I want them to know that’s what they need to be prepared.”

Audiences worldwide have adored the results. He has led the Glee Club on tours of Russia, Poland, Bermuda, and this past spring, in South Africa. Morrow conducted the combined choirs and brass of all the Atlanta University Center schools during the academic convocation for Nelson Mandela and has been a guest conductor all over the world.

Since October, he and the Glee Club have been preparing for their annual Christmas Carol Concert with the Spelman College Choir at Spelman’s Sisters Chapel on Dec. 6 and in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel on Dec. 5 and 7. It is one of Morrow’s favorite events to prepare for each year.

“Everybody enjoys Christmas music – even people who are not Christians,” he said. “People just enjoy the season and the music is just joyful and special.”

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For information about the Christmas with the ASO event, click here.

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