Passing the baton: Joel Johnson and Dan Perkins Summer 2013

In a warm and heartfelt letter to the Board of Directors and Donato Cabrera, after 50 years of service, Joel Johnson has announced his retirement as conductor of the New Hampshire Music Festival Symphonic Chorus.

“Our August 8th and 9th 50th Celebratory Concerts with the Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra will be held in Karen’s and my heart for the rest of our lives. We will forever cherish our many NHMF friendships within the Orchestra, Symphonic Chorus, Board of Directors, Plymouth State University Staff and especially our faithful audience. Now is the time for the Festival to continue moving forward and implement changes for a fresh new era, reaching even higher!”

We are pleased to announce that Joel will pass the baton to Dan Perkins who will join the Festival as principal guest conductor and director of choral activities. Perkins is in his 23rd year at PSU as professor of music and director of choral activities. He is founder and music director of the New Hampshire Master Chorale, music director of the Manchester Choral Society and was principal guest conductor of the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet from 2004-2009, returning in November 2014 as guest conductor and clinician of the orchestra. Dan has served as the music director for the Hanover Chamber Orchestra and led the NH Friendship Chorus on multiple tours from Eastern Europe to South America and Asia. Perkins will have his Carnegie Hall conducting debut on April 20, 2014 with singers from Master Chorale, Manchester Choral, PSU Chorale and choirs from throughout the U.S. (

In response to Perkins’ appointment, Joel remarks, “I am overjoyed to learn of Dan Perkins appointment! Both Dan and Donato are the right guys at the right time! The future looks exciting! Bravo Board of Directors! We will continue to support the Festival and assist in any way to promote and facilitate a positive, seamless transition. We wish everyone the very best!” We look forward to celebrating Joel’s extraordinary career with the Festival as he passes the baton to Dan next summer. Join us!