Director: Dr. J. Philip Williams
The Oakwood Adventist Academy Choir is composed of 33 non-auditioned singers in ninth to twelfth grades. Many of the students are in their first year with the choir.
The choir sings a rich repertoire of sacred music that includes European classics, traditional hymns, anthems, contemporary gospel music, and African-American spirituals. In recent years the choir has sung these extended works: Schubert’s Mass in G, Gall’s The Holy City, Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Cantata, No 125, John Rutter’s Gloria, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Mark Hayes’ Te Deum.
The choir performs regularly for churches in Huntsville and typically presents three formal concerts each school year. They have been heard on programs sponsored by the American Association of University Women, PANOPLY, the Alabama Consortium for Minority Businesses, and the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. They have been featured performers for WAAY-TV during the Christmas season and participate in annual Black History Month programs.
Performances outside of Huntsville have been in Birmingham and Montgomery, AL, Little Rock, AR, Los Angeles and Rialto, CA, Orlando, FL, Atlanta and Savannah, GA, Silver Springs, MD, Berrien Springs, MI, St. Louis, MO, Jamaica, NY, Philadelphia and Pottstown, PA, Arlington, VA, and Portland and Nashville, TN. In 2002 and 2006 the choir was selected to sing in the Walt Disney World’s Christmas celebration in Orlando, FL.
The choir has received superior and excellent ratings in academic choral festivals sponsored by the Alabama Music Educators’ Association. Individual choir members have been selected Outstanding Student Musicians by the Madison County Choral Directors Association. The choir has recorded three compact discs of music: “A Christmas Alleluia” (2002) and “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs” (2003), and “To God Be the Glory” (2006).
About J. Philip Williams
Dr. J. Philip Williams is in his eleventh year as director of the Oakwood Adventist Academy Choir. In addition to directing the choir, Williams is the school’s chaplain and the main religion teacher. He also serves as minister of music for the Oakwood University Campus Church. (Since the age of 10 he has served as pianist, choir director or minister of music for churches of various denominations.)
Williams holds the Master of Divinity degree, the Master of Arts degree, the Education Specialist degree, and the Doctor of Education degree. He is married to Cheryl Austin Williams, a math and computer educator. They have three sons. James, the youngest, is a current member of the OAA Choir.