Introduction

Introduction

J. Donald Dumpson (b. 1959) life’s work is committed to building bridges to diversity through the Arts, by crafting performances with a focus on expanding audiences’ and performers’ understanding of culturally responsive artistic programming. He is the founding director of the Westminster Choir College Jubilee Singers and founder of the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale.

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BIOGRAPHY

Seeing himself as a portal of access for those excluded from mainstream artistic opportunities, at major arts and educational institutions throughout the nation, Dr. Dumpson’s intergenerational work occurs within an educational, spiritual, psychocultural and sociocultural framework. While he works with a broad range of art forms, his principal focus is the human voice. He believes that the human voice has been central in communicating messages from despair to jubilation, deprivation to abundance and from the impossible to the possible. His goal is to reduce artistic stereotypes that limit inclusion of art borne of the African diaspora.

In June 2019, Dr. Dumpson and the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale presented a joint closing concert for the Chorus America convention 2019. In March 2019, he served as the chorus master for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s premier of Healing Tones, composed by Hannibal Lokumbe and conducted by Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

In November 2018, Dr. Dumpson produced the Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul for WXPN University of Pennsylvania. This was followed by an A Soulful Christmas on December 11, 2018 in the Verizon Hall of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.. June 2017 Dr. Dumpson prepared the chorus for the premier of Hannibal Lokumbe’s work Crucifixion & Resurrection: Nine Souls a Travelling. This piece is a tribute to the lives of the nine killed at the Emanuel African Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In November 2015, Dr. Dumpson was the catalyst for a historic moment by curating and preparing three historically black university choirs from Delaware State, Lincoln and Morgan State Universities to unite in performances for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s world premier of Hannibal Lokumbe’s composition One Land, One River, One People. Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted. That same month, his choir, the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale appeared with jazz bassist Christian McBride at the Merriam Theatre in The Movement Revisited featuring Sonya Sanchez as Rosa Parks and Rev. Dr. Alyn Waller as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrating key figures in the dawning years of America’s civil rights struggle.

In March 2015, Dr. Dumpson served as the conductor for Opera Philadelphia’s development workshop of We Shall Not Be Moved, composed by Dr. Daniel Romaine and directed by Bill T. Jones. In October 2014, Dr. Dumpson served as chorus master for Kathleen Battle’s stellar concert, The Underground Railroad. In September 2012, he served as chorus master for the Kimmel Center of the Performing Arts’ world premier of Hannibal Lokumbe’s composition Can You Hear God Crying, which was released on Naxos ArkivMusic in November 2014. Dr. Dumpson has also collaborated with Mr. Lokumbe on the premier of his compositions, A Shepherd Among Us and God Mississippi and a Man Named Medgar. Through the power of community singing, as co-musical director on Breaking the Rules; An Evening with Denyce Graves, with special guests Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, and Take 6, he provide an ensemble of diverse singers.

Dr. Dumpson served as the co-producer of An Evening of Stars, formally known as the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars, benefiting the United Negro College Fund, Inc. For one of the syndicated broadcasts, which honored Quincy Jones, he secured the talents of Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Whoopi Goldberg, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Denyce Graves, Nancy Wilson, Macy Gray, Joss Stone, Yolanda Adams, Monique, Tyler Perry, Kirk Franklin, and many more. For that telecast, Dr. Dumpson accompanied opera diva, Denyce Graves. As an entertainment consultant, He has also served as co-musical director for the July 4th nationally televised special produced by Norman Lear. This special included a reading of the United States Constitution by Mel Gibson and Whoopi Goldberg and included performances by Garth Brooks and many others.

Dr. Dumpson made his Carnegie debut in March of 2001 when the Westminster Choir College Jubilee Singers performed Porgy and Bess under the baton of the legendary maestro Skitch Henderson. He has conducted the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) and prepared the NJSO Community Chorus for performances of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony #2 Resurrection, Gustav Holst’s Planets, as well as concerts with Al Jerreau and Peabo Bryson. As musical director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chorus, he prepared the chorus for Hannibal Lokumbe’s God, Mississippi, and a Man Called Evers. The New York Times cited the composer’s statement, “this was the best chorus I have ever heard.” Dr. Dumpson created a chorus for the Marian Anderson Award Concert, featuring the acclaimed Philadelphia Orchestra, Julius Rudel was the conductor, and Metropolitan Opera star Florence Quivar sang several mezzo-soprano arias. Dr. Dumpson also received rave reviews when he prepared a chorus of regional singers from the Pennsylvania Tri State area for Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Bobby McFerrin. He recently prepared a chorus of regional singers the world premier of A Shepherd Among Us also composed by Hannibal Lokumbe and was chorus master for the New Jersey State Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess.

Dr. Dumpson is the minister of music and arts at the Arch Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA and led the music ministry at Bright Hope Baptist Church from 1985- 2010. Committed to education, he was the founding conductor and artistic director of the Westminster Choir College Jubilee Singers from 1994- 2011. He served as assistant professor of choral music, where he directed the Cheyney University Concert Choir and was director of the University’s Center for Cultural Enrichment and Appreciation from 1988-1993. Dr. Dumpson also was employed by the School District of Philadelphia, from 1983-1991. During his tenure, he served as a general music teacher at several elementary schools and administrative assistant at the Kenderton Elementary School. He served as director of the Concert Choir at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts for two years before leaving to pursue his masters in piano pedagogy and to teach college.

Creating EXPERIENCES with an eye on DIVERSITY.

Creating EXPERIENCES with an eye on DIVERSITY.

 

Collaborations

* Performance | ** Production | *** Performance & Production

Broadway
Sandi Duncan *
Joseph Joubert ***
Charles Strouse **
Tommy Tune ***

Choral Ensembles
Bucks County Choral Arts Society
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
Morgan State University Choir *
Penn State University Essence of Joy Choir ***
Philadelphia Singers *
Singing City of Philadelphia under the direction of the late Dr. Elaine Brown
Temple University Singers *

Conductors
Dirk Brosse *
William Curry *
Leslie Dunner ***
Charles Dutoit ***
Skitch Henderson *
Quincy Jones **
Zednek Macal ***
Bobby McFerrin ***
Peter Nero ***
Yannick Nézet-Séguin *
Andre Raphael Smith
Jason Tramn *

Choral Conductors
Dr. Elaine Brown *
Dr. Nathan Carter *
Dr. Roland Carter *
Dr. Eric Conway ***
Dr. Rollo Dilworth ***
Steven Fisher ***
Vance George **
Alan Harler *
Elma Heckler *
Michael Korn **
Dr. Anthony Leach ***
Gail Poch *

Classical Fusion
Hannibal Lokumbe ***
Daniel Roumain

Dance
Bill T. Jones **
Alvin Ailey **

Gospel
Yolanda Adams **
Shirley Caesar ***
Kirk Franklin ***
Mary Mary
Donnie McClurkin **
Smokie Norful **
Dottie Peoples ***
Richard Smallwood ***

Instrumental Ensembles
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
The New York Pops Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra ***
The Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra
The Philly Pops Orchestra ***

Jazz
Roy Ayers *
Harry Belafonte **
The late Cab Calloway **
Jean Carne ***
The late Grover Washington, Jr. **

Operatic
Academy of Vocal Arts
Kathleen Battle
Deynce Graves
Florence Quivar
Opera Philadelphia
George Shirley **

Rhythm and Blues and Hip-Hop
Peabo Bryson
Cissy Houston **
LL Cool J ***
Patti LaBelle ***
The late Gerald Levert **
Dawnn Lewis ***
Boyz II Men ***
Ricky Minor ***
Melba Moore ***
Musiq **
Della Reese **
Smokey Robinson **
Jill Scott **
Kathy Sledge ***
The Pointer Sisters **
Stevie Wonder **

Small Vocal Ensembles
Boyz II Men ***
Destiny’s Child **
Sweet Honey In The Rock *
Take 6 **

University Presentations
Cheyney University
College of New Jersey
Community College of Philadelphia
Delaware State University
Houghton College
Lincoln University
New York University
Penn State University
Rider University
Rutgers University
Temple University
Wilberforce University
William Paterson University
University of Pennsylvania

Venues Production
Academy of Music
Annenberg Center for the Arts Kimmel Center
Mann Center for the Performing Arts
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Temple University Performing Arts Center

Educational Opportunities
Arts High School
Cicely Tyson Performing Arts High School
Rosa Parks High School for Creative and Performing Arts
Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts
Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts
Summit New Jersey High School

Conference Presentations
Gospel Music Workshop of America
American Choral Directors Association
National Association for Music Education
Educational Opportunities Fund of New Jersey
American Guild of Organists

Past and Present Boards

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

American Choral Directors Association – ACDA
Gospel Music Workshop of America – GMWA
National Association for Music Education – NAFME
National Association of Negro Musicians – NANM
National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music
Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia

SOCIAL MEMBERSHIPS

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.