Written by Emma McDaris // Photo by Jeff Montgomery
The music department began the 2023-24 academic year with a new faculty member, Dr. Kyle Pullen. Pullen works as both a professor of music and director of Choral Activities, University Chorus and Chamber Singers
Pullen received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Houston and his doctoral degree from Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles.
Pullen’s path to music is a path of family tradition.
“My parents are both musicians,” Pullen said. “My father was a choir director, and I grew up with it, and I was in his choir in high school.”
Pullen has worked in Texas and Oklahoma in both high school and collegiate levels, but he said he especially appreciates what Harding has to offer.
“Harding has something special that is becoming more desired by students who really want an on-campus experience,” Pullen said. “We’re tied to a church; We’re tied to Christianity. Christians generally want to be around each other, and Christians also like to sing with one another.”
Harding students such as junior Aubrey Jones, the 2023-24 Harding Chorus President, welcomed Pullen into the Harding Music Department.
“While he has a lot to learn about Harding’s traditions and what we do here on campus, I think it will be beneficial to us to have a fresh set of eyes in the department,” Jones said. “He isn’t coming in with any biases or preconceived notion of what chorus should be. I think that we are going to be able to reach a place where the singers in Chorus can reach their full potential without precedent getting in the way but still holding on to what makes us the Harding University Chorus.”
Dr. Jay Walls, chair of the music department at Harding, has started getting to know Pullen and looks forward to his first year.
“He’s trying really hard, you know, to get to know people well, and I like the way that he is very interested in getting all of our choral ensembles to integrate with each other to get to know each other well, so it feels even more like a choral program,” Walls said.
Beginning his career at Harding during its centennial, Pullen has already begun to think about what the next 100 years will look like for the Chorus.
“We, I think, can still remain strong, and I want the Chorus and the choir program here to be part of what defines us as an on-campus university,” Pullen said. “Not just by participation, but by the quality of music that we create, and I want it to be noticed throughout the region in the country, not to build up our pride but to be seen for what we can offer people in a community.”