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Faculty Duo Kicks Off Arts Season With Songs About Classic Question, “Do You Love Me?”

Jacquelyn Culpepper and Dan Boye
Jacquelyn Culpepper and Dan Boye

Davidson College will kick off the fall performing arts season Saturday evening, Sept. 7, with a rare and heart-felt concert by the college's most notable vocal duo. Longtime performing partners Jacquelyn Culpepper and Dan Boye will present a program of songs that chart the life cycle of love - from those first smitten moments through loss to eventual reconciliation.

The program, titled "Do You Love Me?" will include songs from a half-dozen Broadway musicals written by composers including Gershwin, Cole Porter, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Irving Berlin.

The show will begin at 8 p.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall. Tickets are $8 to $15, with proceeds benefitting music lessons for Davidson students. Reservations may be made by calling 704-894-2135 weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or reserved any time online. For more information contact Amanda Preston at 704-894-2848.

Though they have performed for 30 years at prestigious venues around the globe, this will be the first time Boye and Culpepper have been on stage together in Duke Family Performance Hall since the venue opened in 2001.

Soprano Jacquelyn Culpepper is an artist associate in voice at Davidson, and bass-baritone Dan Boye is a professor of physics. The two musicians met as graduate students at the Brevard Music Center, but didn't begin performing together until they coincidentally both found employment at Davidson College.

From 1989 to 1991 Culpepper worked as an adjunct professor in the music department, and Boye had just joined the physics department. She left the college to focus on singing, and rejoined the faculty in 2001 as an artist associate. Time spent singing in the same church choir soon cemented their friendship and launched their career together. Since then, the duo has sung together at venues across the nation, including their annual performance as featured guest artists at the Breckinridge Musical Festival for 15 years in a row.

Boye has appeared since 1991 in 30 Opera Carolina productions, including "Tosca" last season. He also played the leading role of Curley in the Davidson Community Player's production of "Oklahoma."

Boye's academic research involves development of new optic material. He has developed a way to to blend his teaching and vocal careers in a course titled "Musical Technology" that explores how music and sound is produced. "Everyone likes music of some sort," said Boye. "It conveys emotions and the human spirit. Physics helps students understand how music communicates those things."

Culpepper teaches voice lessons to students, organizes musical performances such the college's opera workshop, and serves as musical director for college musical theatre productions. "I'm fascinated by the pedagogy of teaching voice," she said. "Every person is a puzzle, and it's fun to push their buttons and see how they work."

Culpepper's career highlights outside the college include concerts in Washington's John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Atlanta's Symphony Hall. She has also appeared on PBS singing in An Evening with Cole Porter and Salute to Masterpiece Theatre.

As a teacher for the nonprofit organization American Voices, she has travelled to South America, Asia and Europe to spread an understanding and appreciation for American music. She views these experiences as opportunities to engage in soft diplomacy and cultural exchange. "I love learning about the different ways people approach and use music," she said.

Culpepper now sings mostly concerts and oratorios. "I have a romantic heart," she said. "When I sing Brahms' or Mozart's Requiems, it's like putting on a worn out pair of jeans I love."

Culpepper said mutual respect has maintained her relationship with Boye. "We have healthy boundaries," she said. "If I ask Dan's opinion, he'll give it to me. Sometimes colleagues will try to be your voice teacher, but we both know when to keep our mouths shut."

No matter what they are singing, Culpepper and Boye always appreciate the opportunity to sing together. "We never get bored," said Culpepper. "We're both students and teachers, and so we're always learning from each other."