B i o g r a p h y
The Abilene Chamber Singers were formed in the Spring of 2013 by Dr. Clell Wright to fill a niche in the Abilene arts community. The ensemble was initially hand-picked from musicians that were known to be able and willing to make a commitment to a high level of performance. Auditions are now held on an as-needed basis. The group is almost entirely project-based, meaning that rehearsals only take place for a short time on the weekend of a performance. Presently led by conductor Joshua Wright, ACS is comprised mostly of professional singers, local music teachers, choral directors, and church musicians, but several gifted amateurs make up the roster as well. Each year ACS is proud to serve the arts in Abilene by holding its own concerts in addition to partnering with others like the Abilene Opera Association, the Western Heritage Classic, Chorus Abilene, and the Abilene Philharmonic.
Conductor and Artistic Director
Joshua Wright holds the Bachelor’s Degree in Church Music and Master’s Degree in Church Music from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX. He has performed individually and with various ensembles across the United States and abroad. His overseas performances have taken him to Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. In 2007 Mr. Wright was featured as the baritone soloist in the European premier of a completed version of an unfished Credo that was intended for Mass in C, K.337 by W.A. Mozart completed by musicologist Dr. Murl Sickbert. Mr. Wright maintains his career as an active organist in Abilene as well as serving as a guest artist for churches, orchestras and civic organizations across Texas. Most recently, Mr. Wright has developed his career as a composer, primarily of sacred choral music. He has been commissioned by churches from Texas to Alabama.
Travis Lowery currently serves as Director of Music Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Stephenville, Texas where he conducts the Chancel Choir, Handbell Choir and Children’s Choirs and leads the worship band. Mr. Lowery also maintains a career as a soloist and professional chorister. Most recently he has performed with Orpheus Chamber Singers in Dallas, Dallas Bach Society, and with the Fort Worth Chorale. Having performed with the Cross Timbers Civic Chorale since 2015, Mr. Lowery is an active member of the arts community in Stephenville and works with other musicians in the area to maintain high standards of music making. Mr. Lowery holds the Bachelor of Music in Church Music from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas where he studied church music with Dr. Clell Wright, conducting with Dr. Dee Romines and voice with Dr. Lynnette Chambers. He also holds the Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Texas at Arlington, where he studied with Dr. Karen Kenaston-French.
For 18 years Clell E. Wright served on the faculty of Hardin-Simmons University as Director of Choral Activities and Head of the Department of Church Music. He also held the endowed Logsdon Chair of Church Music. Dr. Wright’s responsibilities at HSU included directing Concert Choir and the oversight of the choral program of the university, consisting of four total ensembles. As head of the Church Music Department, Dr. Wright gave direction to both the undergraduate and the graduate degrees in church music. He taught courses in conducting, literature, and in church music practice and history. His career has recently led him to leave HSU and Abilene, moving to Valdosta, Georgia to be the Director of Choral Activities at Valdosta State University beginning in the fall of 2019. Dr. Wright has served as an adjudicator and a choral clinician throughout the state and the region and has directed All-Region honor choirs. He is also a frequent lecturer on Music and Worship and has presented clinics at the Texas Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, and Texas Choral Directors Association conventions. He holds degrees from Samford University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he studied with Dr. Eph Ehly. In addition to his responsibilities at HSU, Dr. Wright served as founding Conductor and Artistic Director for the Abilene Chamber Singers and as Director of Music at First Central Presbyterian Church in Abilene, Texas.
Shirley J. Anderson is an honor graduate of Hardin-Simmons University with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Master of Music in Theory and Composition. She has recently retired as the Class Piano Instructor at Hardin-Simmons where she also served as a Staff Accompanist. Mrs. Anderson is a frequent accompanist in the community and has been the accompanist for the Classical Chorus of Abilene for 20 seasons. In addition, she has maintained a successful independent piano studio in Abilene for over 30 years and was Abilene Music Teachers Association Teacher of the Year in 1979, 1984, and 2003. In 1995 she won the award for Outstanding Pre-college Teaching Achievement from Texas Music Teachers Association. She is a faculty member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers and chairman of the Abilene Center of the organization. Mrs. Anderson is the wife of Marcus R. Anderson, mother of April (Mrs. Bill) Darroch, and grandmother of Hannah and Samuel.