Ken Carter, choral conductor, professional bass, and partner in International Christian Journeys began the diverse musical part of his career at the age of eighteen with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra as bass soloist in Beethoven's Christ on the Mount of Olives.
After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree from Memphis State University (now University of Memphis) in choral conducting, he became soloist for the United States Air Force Band, Symphony and Singing Sergeants.
His first official job was in the White House singing for President and Mrs. Kennedy. He also sang for five other presidents.
During this period he studied across from Carnegie Hall in New York with Samuel Margolis and in Washington DC with Todd Duncan, Gershwin's original "Porgy." He also premiered the Three Michuda Songs of Serge Degastyne in Carnegie Hall.
A dual career emerged after the Air Force years in which he used his basso-cantante skills professionally and secularly in more than 60 leading operatic roles with some of America's best known singers and opera companies including Connecticut Opera, New Orleans Opera, Mississippi Opera, Opera Memphis and others.
Notably, he was Ramfis and Timur respectively in the largest indoor performances of Verdi's Aida and Puccini's Turandot to that date.
He also played leading musical theatre roles as Emil de Becque in South Pacific (Pictured to left with Susan Powell, Miss America 1982), Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, The Red Shadow in The Desert Song and others at various regional theatres.
In his other "career" he concertized nationwide as the "Singing Sergeant" and ministered in mass evangelism in more than 30 countries with both Crusade Evangelism of Canada and the Billy Graham Association as soloist, choral director and emcee.
Interestingly, he participated in some of the first ever multi-racial crusades in South Africa, led hymns while dogs searched for bombs under the ministry platform in Belfast, was the "Spanish" soloist in the Billy Graham Mexico City Crusade and sang with his battery driven tape recorder in a tiny crusade in Kathmandu although Christian ministry had been forbidden by the Nepalese government.
Chorally, he was bass section leader with the Singing Sergeants and has been director of choirs at First Assembly of God and First Evangelical Church of Memphis; First Baptist Church, San Jose (The Church on the Hill), Saratoga Presbyterian Church, Saratoga; The Villages Chapel, and Peninsula Covenant Church in Redwood City CA.
EMILE DE BECQUE
SOUTH PACIFIC (on stage)
Rogers and Hammerstein'
It has been difficult over the years before modern technology to get high quality video of performances. There were always restrictive local musician rules as well. Here are the two major songs sung by my character, Emile de Becque from a Connecticut Opera production in the 1980s. Shot in dress rehearsal from the balcony
In the last act, thinking that he had lost Nellie Forbush