Chorus America, the country’s leading advocacy group for choral music, has given former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga professor Dr. Roland Carter its Distinguished Service Award, the group’s highest honor.
The award recognizes “a member whose long-term service to the choral field significantly furthers Chorus America’s mission ‘to strengthen singing communities with the advocacy, connections, and resources they need to be a vital part of society,’” the group said in its announcement of Carter’s selection.
Dr. Carter, who spent 23 years at UTC as a teacher and administrator, retiring in 2013, said much of his success should be credited to others.
“I am who I am because of the persons on whose shoulders I’ve stood–the tremendous support and encouragement of mentors, colleagues, students, and friends. Indeed, it is in their honor that I acknowledge this most esteemed award. Thank you,” he said.
A native of Chattanooga, Dr. Carter has been an advocate for the musical traditions of African American heritage. He is celebrated internationally for his arrangement of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” now described as the “Black national anthem.”
“His work as a composer, conductor, educator, and music publisher has established him as a respected authority on the performance and preservation of African American music, and his extended concert arrangement of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ has been crucial to the prominence and significance of this anthem of the civil rights movement,” Chorus America said in its announcement. “He has prepared generations of music students to continue his work of championing a more equitable and inclusive choral field and society,” the group said.