Eric Conway spent his boyhood summers at family reunions on farms in Dorchester County. His musical career gained exposure as he was asked to play piano in small, rural churches on the eastern shore. Now the group he leads was nominated for a Grammy Award.
The Morgan State University Choir, under Conway’s direction, recorded Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra last year and was nominated for the country’s highest music award. The 140 voice strong choir pulls talent from all over the state and nation. They have performed with well-known orchestras and in choral festivals all over the world.
Conway calls this life adventure from summers spent near Preston and Hurlock to the big city lights “fantastic”. He has fond memories of warm summer days on Maryland’s eastern shore.
“My grandfather had about 100 acres and some were planted in watermelon. I can still remember the taste of biting into that watermelon right there in the field,” Conway reminisced.
“I remember we would load up our family’s car with so many watermelons from my grandfather’s farm that you’d think the suspension was going to give out on the way home.”
Conway played piano solos and entertained the congregations at country churches in his mother’s hometown in Virginia’s Accomack County as a young boy. His passion and dedication to classical music took his life adventure from the country all the way to a Doctor of Musical Arts from the John’s Hopkins Peabody Conservatory, with many awards along the way. He became a sought-after pianist, accompanist, and chorus master. He served for 20 years as an associate conductor and accompanist under Morgan State’s legendary conductor Dr. Nathan Carter. After Dr. Carter’s death in 2004, many candidates desired the post. Dr. Eric Conway was selected to lead the choir.
The Morgan State University Choir, under Conway’s direction, will perform a concert on Kent Island on Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 7 p.m. at the Four Winds Performing Arts Center. The program will feature the choir’s signature sound on spirituals and selections from Porgy and Bess. Some contemporary pieces will be offered as well. Tickets are $20 and available at www.fourwindspac.org or by stopping by the church office of Christ Church Parish Kent Island, 830 Romancoke Road in Stevensville.