Attention Friends of Choral Music:

We want to announce an exciting opportunity for an individual with excellent choral conducting experience and education. After more than 41 years, J. Don Coleman, the Founding Conductor of the Hickory Choral Society (HCS), is retiring. The enclosed job posting includes information about the position and describes the education and experience that we are looking for in our new Conductor. We plan to announce an appointment in spring 2020, with a start date no later than June 2020.

The Hickory Choral Society raised its collective voice for the first time in 1978, touching music lovers in the Catawba Valley with the spirit of song. Today, over 100 singers from eight counties blend their voices in harmony, brought together by a common devotion to musical excellence. HCS has performed in numerous local, national, and international venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, and a 2019 tour of Austria and the Czech Republic as a featured performer in the American Celebration of Music Festival. HCS has been honored by the talents of numerous guest conductors, including notables such as Sir David Willcocks, Anton Armstrong, Mack Wilberg, Weston Noble, and Elena Sharkova among others. We have also had a variety of guest performers through the years, including Dave Brubeck and the Kontras Quartet.

Hickory Choral Society is recognized as a high-quality community chorus. We were featured in a 2018 piece by UNC-TV about Catawba County, and we performed live Christmas Specials for UNC-TV in 2003 & 2004. For our 35th Anniversary, Hickory Choral Society commissioned a major work by Dan Forrest, Requiem for the Living. We premiered the piece in Hickory first, and then performed as part of a larger choir for the premiere at Carnegie Hall. Requiem for the Living has gone on to become one of the most frequently performed extended choral works worldwide, and is illustrative of the commitment to excellence that is embodied by the Hickory Choral Society. The work of the Hickory Choral Society is a testament to the belief that each person should be allowed to share the universal gift of music and its immeasurable rewards.

We hope that you are as excited as we are about this opportunity. As you can imagine, our singers and the community will miss Don Coleman greatly. As we celebrate his accomplishments from the past 41 years, we are also eager to move forward into the next 40+ years. We have a strong Board, a solid transition plan, an excellent financial position, and enormous dedication from our loyal patrons. On top of that, we recently built a state-of-the-art rehearsal hall, located in a thriving cultural arts center near downtown Hickory NC. Hickory and the surrounding area are blessed with many high-quality cultural arts organizations, making this a great place to live and work.

If all this information gets your heart beating a little faster, and if you have the background described in the detailed job posting, please send a cover letter and resume to the email provided in the posting no later than January 15, 2020. In addition, if you know others who might be interested in this position, please share this information with them as well.

Thank you!

POSITION TITLE: Conductor/Artistic Director

ORGANIZATION: Hickory Choral Society (HCS)

LOCATION: Hickory, North Carolina

TYPE OF POSITION: Part-time; on average 15-20 hour/week

SALARY: Commensurate with local market, part-time hours, and candidate qualifications



Primary Responsibilities

  • Oversee artistic and creative activities of the Hickory Choral Society, including:
    Planning and execution of the artistic vision that advances the HCS mission
    Developing concert themes and repertoire
    Facilitating the selection of concert venues
    Cultivating commissioning concepts
    Engaging exemplary guest artists, soloists, and conductors
    Selecting concert instrumentation and serving as liaison for orchestral hiring
  • Serve as the principal conductor for rehearsals, artistic retreats, and performances
  • Conduct new singer auditions and oversee re-auditions
  • Participate in donor and benefactor cultivation and executive fundraising activities
  • Report directly to the President of the Board of Directors and attend BoD meetings
  • Work in partnership with the HCS Office Manager and directly supervise HCS Associate Conductors (currently two) as well as the rehearsal accompanist
  • Attract, inspire and retain gifted singers of varying ages, ethnic backgrounds, and levels of experience and education in music
  • Consistently achieve professional-level performance

Secondary Responsibilities

  • Act as an artistic leader for and ambassador to the community
  • Represent HCS at cultural, press, and community relations events
  • Assist in the creative direction of program covers, publicity endeavors, newspaper articles, etc…



  • Bachelor’s degree in music, with a concentration in choral music preferred
  • Advanced degree is highly desirable


  • Professional choral experience emphasizing performance and organizational leadership
  • Outstanding artistic accomplishments as a choral conductor, concert programmer, and/or similar achievements
  • Corresponding professional-level instrumental conducting expertise
  • Demonstrated ability to promote diversity of audience members and singers
  • Experience and interest in commissioning and performing new works desired

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Send a cover letter and resume/cv by email to:
Chair, Conductor/Artistic Director Search Committee
[email protected]


Additional information on the Hickory Choral Society can be found on our website: