BILLY ORTON, Artistic Director
Serving HCCA since 2002, Billy Orton has brought great energy and creativity to our organization’s presence and work throughout North Alabama. He conducts the auditioned 160-voice Symphonic Chorus and the highly select 30-voice HCC Chamber Chorale, which he founded in 2004. Under Billy’s direction “TheChorus” has grown in numbers as well as artistic impact upon the region, often collaborating with area groups of various genres. Concerts by TheChorus are characterized by wide-ranging musical styles and a growing audience base.
Billy has been the Minister of Music and Worship at Huntsville’s First Baptist Church since 1998, where he administers a growing program of music ministries with more than 20 choirs, instrumental groups and ensembles. In addition to his role as a worship leader, he also conducts three choirs (youth, adult and senior adult) and the orchestra of the church. The special presentations by FBC’s Music Ministry such as the Living Christmas Tree and the Spring/Easter concerts are enjoyed by thousands in the region.
Rev. Orton is quite active as a musician in the city and region through his roles with HCCA and FBC, Bass Trombonist of the Huntsville Brass Band, and Chorus Master for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. He has been conductor for numerous performances of North Alabama arts organizations, including a ballet with Pointe Station, opera and stage musicals with Ars Nova School of the Arts, and feature concerts with the Huntsville Brass Band. Billy has prepared and conducted church and community music groups in performances of such major works as Messiah, Die Schopfung, Elijah, Brahms’ A German Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ Hodie. Artists under his direction have premiered new choral and orchestral works, have been featured on national television and radio networks (NPR, NET, and ACTS) and have produced professional recordings. His versatility is further seen in the fact that in May, 2009 the Sanctuary Choir of FBC presented the Brahms Requiem and in May, 2010 presented a program entitled Bluegrass and Stained Glass.
In his role as Chorus Master, Mr. Orton has prepared groups for conductors Carlos Miguel Prieto, James Paul and Joseph Lee and highly acclaimed performances of Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Ravel’s Daphnes and Chloe, Mahler’s Symphony #3, Debussy’s Trois Nocturnes, Holst’s The Planets, Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, and, of course, Beethoven’s Symphony #9.
Billy is frequently requested for various leadership roles in church music circles, including conductor for Baptist All State groups, teacher for retreats/clinics/camps, and brass performer. He has served as elected Vice President for the Baptist Church Music Conference and in various capacities for several state conventions. Prior to Huntsville FBC, he was Minister of Music and Worship at Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, VA, at FBC Bowling Green, KY, and at Northwest Baptist Church in Winston Salem, NC. He is married to his childhood sweetheart, Jane, who is the Clinical Director of the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville.