By Barrie Wallace
(Chapel Hill, NC) – Women’s Voices Chorus, the premier Triangle chorus for sopranos and altos, has selected Laura Justus Sam as its new artistic director.
Sam is an accomplished and skillful practitioner with a demonstrated commitment to excellence. She deeply values the sense of community and joy inspired by choral singing, and has a lifelong passion for choral music created by and for women’s voices. Under Sam’s leadership, the chorus expects to continue its tradition of adventurous programming and rich performances while reaching new levels of artistry and skill.
Sam follows long-time artistic director Allan Friedman, under whose leadership the chorus grew in musicianship, community, and reputation. Friedman has expanded his role at Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, where he now serves as Director of Music and Community Engagement.
Sam has been a choral conductor and music educator for the past 35 years, directing choruses at Meredith College, North Carolina State University, Cary Academy, North Carolina Governor’s School East, and Walter M. Williams High School in Burlington. Sam was chosen to conduct both the North Carolina High School All-State Women’s Choir and the North Carolina Middle School All-State Mixed Chorus, and frequently conducts festival choruses at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
In 2007, Sam was honored as the North Carolina Music Educators High School Choral Director of the Year, and in 2018 was inducted into the North Carolina Music Educators Association High School Choral Section Hall of Fame. She was among the first music educators in the nation to earn the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification in Music.
Recognized for her expertise, Sam is called upon to design and lead professional development for choral music educators. Sam’s impact is felt in classrooms across North Carolina and beyond, as former students and student teachers nurture the next generation of choral musicians.
A passionate advocate for the representation of women’s voices, Sam has commissioned new works such as I Sing That My Voice May Be Heard, by North Carolina composer, Gwen McLeod Hall. Inspired by the life of Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai, this composition was premiered by the North Carolina Governor’s School East Chorus under Sam’s direction. Sam also led the North Carolina Governor’s School Foundation to participate as a whole-movement consortium member in the commissioning of Appalachian Love Songs: Women’s Reflections on Love, Loss, and Strength by Minnesota composer, Linda Tutas Haugen.
Sam received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is an active member of the North Carolina American Choral Directors Association and the North Carolina Music Educator’s Association. Sam also serves as the director of the North Carolina Governor’s School East, leading a summer residential program for intellectually gifted high school students.
About Women’s Voices Chorus
Founded in 1993, Women’s Voices Chorus performs a wide and diverse repertoire and remains steadfast in support of its threefold mission: to provide a welcoming place in the Triangle for women to share the joy of singing together, promote choral works by and for women, and strive to achieve the highest standards of musical excellence.
Women’s Voices Chorus, a 70-member ensemble, presents concerts twice a year in the Triangle area.
Women’s Voices Chorus strives to foster a climate of purposeful inclusion. A diverse, multicultural, multiracial choral community enriches a chorus and its music. It welcomes women regardless of race, sexual orientation, past gender identity, culture, religion, disability, or educational, financial, or class status.
Learn more about Women’s Voices Chorus at www.womensvoiceschorus.org