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Albemarle Neighbor: Albemarle Chorale accompanist holds high musical standards

By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

The Daily Advance

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As Jackie Copeland’s fingers glide over the keys, the sound of Vivaldi’s “Gloria” resonates throughout the church.

Voices will blend in harmony as Copeland plays the piano and organ during the Albemarle Chorale’s performances of “Gloria” on Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. at Edenton United Methodist Church and Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Elizabeth City.

“We have high performance standards,” said Copeland, who has served as the Albemarle Chorale’s accompanist since its formation.

Sponsored by College of The Albemarle, Albemarle Chorale members meet once a week for a two-hour practice at Edenton United Methodist Church during the fall and spring semesters. Attendees of Albemarle Chorale performances will “hear very professional first rate choral literature,” said Copeland.

Copeland is enthusiastic about collaborating with musicians who will play a viola, cello, flute, trumpet and violins in this season’s performances.

In addition to Antonio Vivaldi’s works, the Chorale will perform songs like: “Silent Night,” “In the Bleak Midwinter,” “We Three Kings” and “Carol of the Bells.”

Originally from Edenton, Copeland remembers first discovering a passion for music through her family and church.

“Everybody in my family sings,” said Copeland. “I came from a musical family.”

Copeland recollected an especially memorable Christmas when she received a guitar.

“I realized I had a love for it,” said Copeland. And so her love of music was solidified with the Christmas gift.

Completing her undergraduate studies of music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Copeland earned her master’s degree and education certification at East Carolina University concentrating on organ performance and sacred music.

As the music teacher at Central Elementary School for the last 14 years, Copeland enjoys working with her students.

“I like working with children,” said Copeland.

“I have 350 sopranos,” said the music educator and past Central Elementary School Teacher of the Year. “With my job at school we sing all styles.”

Copeland says this year plans to incorporate James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind” into the students’ holiday performance at the school.

A former church music director and organist, Copeland currently substitutes for music directors at various local churches.

She said the Albemalre Chorale’s performances are “good Christmas music” and “uplifting fun.”

The joyful tones of instrument and voice will provide listeners with a “start to their Christmas season.”

Anna Goodwin McCarthy is a correspondent for The Daily Advance.