Dr. David Hobson (2007-Present)
David Hobson began directorship of the Centenary College Choir in the fall of 2007, becoming only the fourth conductor in the choir’s 71 year history and the second to hold the prestigious A.C. Cheesy Voran Chair. In the first five years of his leadership, the Choir sang over 40 performances across the south, continuing the rich legacy established by his predecessors. In 2009 he continued the Choir's program of international touring when he took the Choir to New Zealand and Australia, where the highlight was performing to a sold out performance at the world-famous Sydney Opera House. In 2011, the Centenary College Choir toured Brazil and Argentina, and a tour of Italy is planned in 2013. February 2012 included Hobson preparing the Choir for its Carnegie Hall debut, performing Choir alumnus Dr. James Eakin's world premiere of Flowers Over the Graves of War. Hobson also serves as full-time faculty in the Hurley School of Music, heading the Sacred Music program among other teaching responsibilities.
Hobson is a 1998 alumnus of Centenary College and the Choir, earning a Bachelor of Music degree with honors. His tutelage under Will Andress while in the Centenary Choir as well as church music classes helped shape his career upon leaving Centenary. He later completed the Master of Sacred Music program at Emory University, studying conducting with Eric Nelson. In 2010 he earned the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting at Louisiana State University, where he was a student of Ken Fulton.
He remains active in church music ministry, having served churches in Shreveport, Atlanta, and Baton Rouge, directing vocal and handbell choirs of all ages. His youth choirs have toured extensively across the South and Midwest. Most recently, Hobson staged and directed church productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Godspell, and Fiddler on the Roof at University United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge. He has also led several seminars in the area of music and worship for various churches and is available as a guest choral clinician in both academic and religious settings. Hobson served Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Shreveport from 2007 to 2011. In July 2011, Hobson was named Director of Music Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Shreveport.
David is married to Centenary alumna Dr. Emily Robinson Hobson, a pediatrician. They have three children - Hannah, Landry, and Andrew.
Dr. A.C. “Cheesy” Voran (1941-1972)
Dr. A.C. “Cheesy” Voran (1906-2003), founding director of the Centenary College Choir, started the program in 1941 at the request of Ralph Squires, then director of Centenary’s music school. Voran, who had previously started choirs at two colleges, jumped at the chance.
Over the next 30 years, Voran took the program from local glee club to international recognition. By the time he retired in the spring of 1972, the Centenary College Choir enjoyed two long-term engagements at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, entertained front-line troops in Korea, and represented Shreveport and Centenary College before numerous gatherings of Lions International and the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.
He'd be the first to tell you that he was J.C.D. — Just a Choir Director. Well, he was a choir director, but the "just" doesn't apply. He was a superb musician and an outstanding director, no doubt about that. But his greatest gift was something even more personal: He inspired people to love and respect one another. When we speak of the Centenary College Choir "spirit," that's what we're talking about — a multi-generational bond among people who came together to make music, and wound up making lifelong friends with everyone else who has ever been in the choir. All because of one man.
He came from Kansas, already known by the nickname his McPherson College basketball teammates gave him. Academia may have called him Dr. A.C. Voran, and maybe his mother called him Alvin, but to the rest of the world, especially the generations of students who loved him — and the members of Noel Memorial Methodist Church Choirs he led for more than forty years — he will forever be Cheesy.
In his retirement, and even after his death in 2003, hundreds of choir alumni and friends continue to honor Cheesy by their support of the A.C. “Cheesy” Voran Endowed Choir Scholarship program and by funding the A. C. “Cheesy” Voran Endowed Professorship, which partially funds the current director position, today held by Dr. David A. Hobson.
Dr. William Ballard (1972-1974)
Bio coming soon!
Dr. Will K. Andress (1974-2007)
Upon the occasion of his retirement in 2007, Centenary College of Louisiana named Dr. Will K. Andress "Director Emeritus" of the Centenary College Choir. College President Dr. Kenneth Schwab made the appointment in recognition of Will's exemplary 33 years (1974-2007) of leadership and service to both the Choir and the College.
Will's experience with the Centenary College Choir began much earlier, however. He was a high school senior from El Dorado, AR, in 1956 when he saw the Centenary Choir perform under the direction of Dr. A.C. "Cheesy" Voran. Even though Will had already enrolled at Lafayette College in Easton, PA, he was so impressed with the Choir that he traveled to Shreveport for an audition.
That fall, Will began his Centenary College Choir career as tenor soloist. During his years, the Choir traveled to Japan twice to sing Easter Sunrise Services for the troops on Okinawa, and made its first appearance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. During their five years together, Cheesy mentored Will, hoping to create a choir director for future generations. In his senior year at Centenary, Will served as Choir President.
After graduation, Will moved his family throughout the South while furthering his education. He earned a graduate degree in Church Music from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, a Masters in Music from East Carolina University, and a Doctor of Music from Florida State University.
In 1974, Centenary appointed Will director of the Centenary College Choir, a moment Will still recalls as "the proudest moment of my life, not including marrying Julia Ann and the gift of my two children, Knox and Libby."
Will, like Cheesy, came to be known not just as director, but also as counselor, teacher and friend to the more than 500 students who came through the choir during his tenure. His motto, often repeated, is "We are here to love people into doing great things."
Under Will's leadership, the Choir took its role as "America's Singing Ambassadors" to new heights, traveling to 31 countries on six of the seven continents, singing for many heads of state and military commanders. The Choir entertained Christmas guests at the White House seven times, and was the first Protestant choir to sing mass in St. Peter's Basilica. The choir performed in many other historic worship sites around the world, including Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame, Canterbury Cathedral, and St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Will received Centenary College's highest honor for an alumnus - induction into Centenary's Alumni Hall of Fame in 2007. Upon his retirement, by proclamation of the Louisiana Senate and House, he was also recognized for a lifetime of commitment and service to the State of Louisiana.
In 2011, after 40 years of service, Will retired from his role as Director of Music Ministries at First United Methodist Church of Shreveport. He continues to serve FUMC part-time as Director of the Emmett Hook Center, a state-of-the-art performing arts center which opened in 2011. He works with the College Alumni Board on major projects as well. Will and current Centenary Choir director Dr. David Hobson also plan to continue the Choir's successful program of occasional alumni tours.