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A Family Portrait 2017

Lynn to conduct ‘A Family Portrait’ at Carnegie Hall

Singers invited to join New York 2022 performance with A Cappella Choir

A collection of a family’s letters from the Civil War era inspired Manchester University Professor Debra Lynn to write A Family Portrait, which debuted at Manchester University in 2017.

Debra Lynn Family Portrait 2017She will conduct the oratorio at Carnegie Hall on May 30, 2022, with several combined festival choirs – including MU’s A Cappella Choir, its alumni and friends – and the New England Symphonic Ensemble.

Lynn invites individual singers, as well as community, school church and other choirs, to join the five-day residency May 27-31, with the concert on Memorial Day. 

A Family Portrait makes a wonderful festival piece because it is entirely in English, and it does not require advanced musical skill. It was intentionally composed with the intent of being accessible to non-professional singers,” Lynn said “It also has wonderful educational value because much of the multi-layered musical material is derived from folksongs, hymns, and children’s songs from the Civil War era. If you’re an American history buff, you’ll be in heaven learning and performing this piece.”

The Manchester University business office is creating an online registration form and payment platform. Lynn said it should be up and running sometime during spring semester.

Singers will get printed music and recorded materials will help with practice. Participants who are near North Manchester are welcome to attend rehearsals on campus with the A Cappella Choir if they choose.

Those who wish to sing must register with Manchester University’s Music Department by mid-September. She said there would be plenty of time for sightseeing during the residency.

Lynn has conducted at Carnegie Hall twice, in 2001 and 2007. 

She serves as director of choral organizations and vocal studies at Manchester. Choral ensembles under her direction include the A Cappella Choir, Chamber Singers and Cantabile. She is conductor of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, a collaboration that involves Manchester students and residents of Wabash County.

For the media
To contact Dr. Lynn for information or an interview:
Learn about her compositional journey at
Press release from the 2017 debut:

Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., provides vibrant and transformative student experiences. Learn more at 

Our mission: Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

December 2020