Valerie Harris named interim director, UAB Gospel Choir

valerie r harris

Valerie R. Harris has been named interim director of the UAB Gospel Choir, announced by retiring director Kevin P. Turner this past week. Her work includes building the music program at Guiding Light Church, directing Birmingham Southern University and Miles College’s gospel choirs. She has also served as an instructor for Tuskegee University’s “Golden Voices” Choir and Montevallo University. Harris has worked with numerous artists including Joe Pace for his “Shake the Foundation” and “Mighty Long Way” projects, Judy Jacobs’s “No God Like Jehovah” and Juanita Bynum and Jonathan Butler’s “Gospel Goes Classical.” She will begin working with the UAB music department in January 2018.

Read about her contribution to music in her bio.

Born Valerie Renee Reese, the second of five children in Selma, Alabama to Civil Rights Activist and Pastor Frederick D. & Alline Reese, she began to recognize the power of God’s presence in music. Valerie began her pursuit of God’s presence through music at the early age of three by taking piano lessons. What at first seemed like a mistake, turned Valerie into one of the most sought after accompanist in the region. Valerie, pursued higher education and excelled in classical piano at the prestigious University of Montevallo, where she was quickly recognized and offered an accompanist position after graduation. From there her reputation proved amiable to accompany Tuskegee University, Alabama A&M University, The Altamont School and thrust her into broader venues with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and others in which she has traveled overseas to Africa. As an ordained Elder and Minister of Music for over 22 years, she has conducted some of the best gospel and classical choirs in the United States.

Her distinct sound was evident and appealing to her first love, “gospel” and record labels began hiring her in the area of Choir Vocalization/Band Direction for Recordings. Requests for assistance poured in from Judy Jacobs, Juanita Bynum & Jonathan Butler, Dr. Henry Panion, Joseph Garlington, Joe Pace and a host of Contemporary Christian heavyweights. As a Master Class Instructor for over a decade with the International Worship Institute in Texas, Valerie has worked with Lamar Boschman, Paul Baloche, Morris Chapman and David Baroni to set a new standard in the fundamentals of worship. Few musicians have the ability to cross genres with such ease but even fewer are able to maintain a place in both Gospel & Contemporary Christian music successfully. Enjoy the sound of a classically trained virtuoso pianist coupled with intimate worship virtues.

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