Back to All Events

Beethoven's 9th

  • Twichell Auditorium 580 East Main Street Spartanburg, SC, 29302 United States (map)

“Be embraced, ye millions! This kiss is for the whole world!” Ludwig van Beethoven’s monumental 9th Symphony and its setting of Friedrich Schiller’s poem Ode to Joy, has become synonymous with freedom around the world ever since it premiered in 1824. The symphony itself depicts in its four movements man’s search for enlightenment, a humane progression that Beethoven pioneered in his symphonic forms, further catapulting the man and his music to the forefront of the romantic movement. Attending a performance of Beethoven’s 9th symphony live is truly an unforgettable experience and we are thrilled to be able to present it to you this season.

Perhaps searching for meaning and reflecting on one’s pursuit through their art is the definition of what it means to be an artist. The most poignant musical question ever asked was written in 1908 by the American composer, Charles Ives. His remarkable piece The Unanswered Question sets the stage for Beethoven’s affirming 9th Symphony.


6PM - Classical Conversations with Music Director Stefan Sanders and Chris Vaneman, Director of Petrie School of Music at Converse College

7PM - Performance

Things to note: Valet Parking provided at no cost. Refreshments are available for purchase.


Valerie MacPhail

Soprano Valerie MacPhail has performed over 30 solo vocal recitals at colleges throughout the country.  She frequently incorporates chamber pieces into her programs, collaborating with instrumental colleagues.  Recent programs have included “Songs About Music”, “The Seasons in Song”, “Vocal Chamber Music”, and a multi-media, multi-performer exploration of songs on the poetry of Emily Dickinsen.  In recent years, she has traveled to Cuba and to China, where she gave several performances and presented vocal masterclasses to students and young professionals. 

She has appeared with the South Carolina Opera Theatre, The Spartanburg Repertory Company, and the Converse Opera Theatre.   Roles include the Countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Sister Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone, and Donna Ximena in Gazzaniga’s Don Giovanni. She created the role of Beatrix Trenholm in the world premiere of To Him Who Waits, by Dr. S. David Berry, Petrie School of Music faculty member and composer, and recently appeared in the world premiere of Troiades, also by Dr. Berry.  Favorite musical theatre credits are the role of The Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods and Mrs. Nordstrom in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.

Dr. MacPhail has taught on the faculty of the Petrie School of Music at Converse College since 1994.  She is currently the coordinator of the voice faculty, and also serves as Director of the Lawson Academy of the Arts.  She teaches both undergraduate and graduate voice majors at Converse, as well as some very talented younger students in the Lawson Academy.  Her students have competed successfully on the national and local level, winning the Hal Leonard Art Song Competition, and advancing to the national semi-finals in the National Student Auditions of the NATS organization (National Association of Teachers of Singing).  Others have been accepted at prestigious music schools, including the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the New England Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music.

Dr. MacPhail directed and taught at the Hub City Vocal Institute in 2017 and 2018, and has served on the summer faculty for the South Caroline Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

Dr. MacPhail received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance from the University of South Carolina, where she studied and coached with Walter Cuttino and John Keene. She holds a Master of Music degree in voice performance from Florida State University, and the BA from The College of William and Mary.

Kim Colon.jpg

Kimberly Colon

Kimberly Diane Colon is a multi-talented artist with a wide variety of performance experience. A native of Miami, Florida, Kimberly first entered the spotlight with her much-lauded, one-woman performance of the “Flower and the Hawk” by Carlisle Floyd.

In addition to her operatic experience, Kimberly has also performed throughout the Chicagoland area as part of the Belle-Canto Trio. The trio was extolled for their delicate, three-part harmonies as well as their captivating stage-presence. Southern audiences have enjoyed her mezzo soprano range as a member of the Greenville Chorale.

Kimberly holds a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Northwestern University. As the Assistant Director of Choirs for Spartanburg High School, she directs the Bel Canto and Chorister Women’s Choirs and co-directs the pop group, the Corporation.

Kimberly currently lives with her husband and two daughters (who also work and attend school in D7) in Simpsonville, SC. Prior to coming to Spartanburg School District 7, Kimberly taught for five years in the Chicago area.

Jake Thomason Headshot.jpg

Jake Thomason

Originally from Powdersville, South Carolina, Tenor Jake Thomason holds a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Furman and Indiana Universities, respectively. A versatile performer, he has been heard in the United States and abroad in opera, concert, recital and oratorio venues. Mr. Thomason made his stage debut as Frederic in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance in 2006, and in 2007 he was invited to study at the prestigious Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy, where he was showcased in concerts throughout the Tuscan region.

 In 2009 Thomason performed the role of Ferrando in Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Lyrisches Opern Studio of Weimar, Germany. In the summer of 2011 Mr. Thomason participated in the concert-version of Jules Massenet’s Werther, in which he sang the title role. Thomason was seen in the role of Lippo Fiorentino”in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene with Harrower Opera Workshop in the summer of 2013.  Later that same summer, Mr. Thomason was invited to be a Graham Apprentice Artist with Glow Lyric Theatre in Greenville, SC where he performed in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. He also participated in a new music cabaret composed by Karl Michael Johnson, Glow Lyric Theatre’s composer in residence for the 2013 season. In 2014, Mr. Thomason appeared in the SC NATSAA competition where he was a finalist and advanced to the Regional level. He also played one of the title roles in a production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, as well as the title role in Gounod's Faust with Mosaic-Arts in partnership with Opera Carolina. 2015 saw Mr. Thomason performing with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra as Francois/Dennis O'Grady in a newly rediscovered work by George Chadwick, Tabasco. In the same year, Mr. Thomason was invited to participate as a featured soloist in six concerts in Robbiate, Italy with the Bassi Brugnatelli Singing and Conducting Symposium. Notable performances in 2016 included a return to the Artisphere Festival with GLOW Lyric Theatre and the tenor soloist in Bach's Ein feste Burg with the South Carolina Bach Organization. Notable recent events include a return to GLOW Lyric Theatre as Ezekiel Cheever in Ward's The Crucible, invitations to participate in the Jenson and Giulio Gari competitions in NYC, the tenor soloist in Handel's Messiah with Christ Church, and invitations to perform in both Los Angeles and Maine.

 Thomason currently studies voice under the tutelage of Grammy award-winning mezzo-soprano, Victoria Livengood. He resides in Greenville, SC with his wife, mezzo-soprano Laura Thomason.


Hidenori Inoue

Hidenori Inoue is a Bass from Himeji, Japan, known principally for his strong vocal technique and flexibility of repertoire, as well as articulate acting skill. Singing the role of Bonze in Madama Butterfly and Makoto Kobayashi in Jack Perla’s An American Dream, Hidenori made his debut with Virginia Opera and Anchorage Opera in the past season, and performed his first Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Tulsa Opera.

Upcoming performances for the 2019–2020 season include Bonze in Madama Butterfly, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with nation wide opera houses in US including his debut with Opera Omaha followed by the concert series with them.

In a robust 2017–2018 season, Hidenori debuted with Tulsa Opera singing the role of Timur in Turandot and covered the role of Méphistophéles in Faust; he also sang as Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera Steamboat, Makoto Kobayashi in Perla’s An American Dream (East coast premiere) with Opera Maine, Barone in La Traviata with Opera Maine, Padre Guardiano and Marquis in Verdi’s La forza del destino with the New Amsterdam Opera; and Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola with New York City’s ARE Opera.

The 2016–2017 season saw Hidenori as the eponymous hero of Don Pasquale with the Manhattan School of Music, as well as Pistola in Falstaff with the Italian La Musica Lirica, Benoit and Alcindoro in Puccini’s La Bohème with International Vocal Arts Institute, and as Barbemuche in Leoncavallo’s La Bohème.

In 2016, Inoue executed the role of Monstre Cathos in Jacques Ibert’s Persée et Andromède with the Manhattan School of Music. Hailed as “the smoky-voiced bass” by The New York Times and “assertive” by Opera News, this performance was listed in The New York Times as one of the Top 10 Vocal Performances of 2016. The same year, he made his debut as an actor on Netflix Original series “Daredevil” Season 2 with Marvel.

Hidenori Inoue is the finalist of 2018 Jensen Foundation’s competition and Butler Opera International Competition. He holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music.

Earlier Event: May 8
BARS Academy
Later Event: May 22
District 7 presents...