About

Vocal Arts Nashville is Music City’s professional chamber choir, dedicated to enriching the community through the performance of the finest choral music in Middle Tennessee. It is comprised of the most sought after professional singers who make music throughout Nashville in churches, schools, opera productions, and other choral organizations. While it’s possible to find just about every kind of live music in “Music City”, a professional choral ensemble is one type of music group that has been missing. Formed in 2017 by Artistic Director, Dr. Matthew Phelps, the ensemble has just completed its second season. This year, the group expanded its size, concert calendar, and board of directors, making it Nashville’s premier chamber choir. They have been invited to perform throughout the city, including with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, on WFCL’s Live in Studio C, and for Bachanalia at Christ Church Cathedral. They have also had the pleasure of collaborating with the Nashville Chamber Music Series, Nashville Concerto Orchestra, and the Nashville School of the Arts.

Our Artistic Director

Dr. Matthew Phelps is the Minister of Music at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. At West End, he conducts the nationally renowned Chancel Choir on a weekly basis and performs major concerts with orchestra. This season, Dr. Phelps led the Chancel Choir in performances of Telemann, Pärt, and Faure, while also preparing the choir for a Hymn Festival featuring guest artist Tom Trenney. He oversees a multi-faceted music department that includes two adult choirs, four choirs for children and youth, and two handbell choirs. As an organist, he is one of three organists on staff who plays the 136 rank Moller organ; the largest organ in the state of Tennessee.

Dr. Phelps is also the founder and artistic director of the professional chamber choir Vocal Arts Nashville. Having completed their second season, the choir presented three concerts featuring a blend of early music and contemporary choral compositions. Dr. Phelps is also a regular conductor with the Nashville Concerto Orchestra and the Mozart Birthday Festival Orchestra. An active organ recitalist, Dr. Phelps has played in churches around the country including St. Mary the Virgin, St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan, Westminster Presbyterian in Dayton, OH, and Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati. And his premiere of Trumpets of Light, written for him by Dan Locklair, was broadcast on NPR’s Pipedreams. Dr. Phelps is also one of the most sought after pianists in the Nashville region. He has performed as a soloist with the Nashville Concerto Orchestra, Intersection, and is a founding member of the Elliston Trio with violinist Erin Hall and cellist Keith Nicholas. He is on the faculty of Lipscomb University where he teaches courses in theory and church music.

Dr. Phelps is from Cincinnati, OH where he finished his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in conducting from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He worked extensively in NYC and Cincinnati before arriving in Nashville, and his choirs have performed at regional conventions of MENC and ACDA. Dr. Phelps was the winner of the 2015 American Prize in Choral Conducting and has placed in performance competitions as both an organist and pianist. He studied conducting with Earl Rivers, Mark Gibson, and Stephen Coker. He has studied organ with Jerry Taylor, Thom Miles, Matthew Lewis, and Michael Unger. He lives in Bellevue with his wife Colleen and son Noah and is an avid chef and chess player.

Our Board

Clockwise from top left: Randi Perkins, Brian Payne, Matthew Phelps, Dave Moore, Leon Rader, Sarah Dunnevant, J.L. Nave, John Wiseman

Brian Payne
President

Sarah Dunnevant
Social Media Chair

Matthew Phelps
Founder & Artistic Director

J.L. Nave
VP for Development

Dave Moore
VP for Marketing & Public Relations

John Wiseman
Social Events Chair

Leon Rader
VP for Operations

Randi Perkins
Treasurer

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