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This profile was last updated on 9/19/02  and contains information from public web pages.

William McMurray

Wrong William McMurray?


Highland Presbyterian Church

Employment History


  • music
    East Carolina University
  • South View High School
Web References
Fayetteville Online, 19 Sept 2002 [cached]
McMurray has an 'angelic voice'
Before Bill McMurray finished the first few bars of the congregational hymn, heads were turning.
Opera singer Bill McMurray, a member of the Highland Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, has traveled the United States to perform.
The members of Highland Presbyterian Church had a professional opera singer in their midst.
"Even if I sing at half volume," McMurray said, "somebody's going to hear me."
To make her point, Purdie marched McMurray the next Sunday morning to see the church music director.
Two Sundays after McMurray picked a Presbyterian church out of the Yellow Pages, he wore a Highland choir robe.
They have only known McMurray since June, but in three months, he has become an unexpected fixture at Highland.
What: Bill McMurray in concert
McMurray is black.And at 6 feet 3 inches tall, he literally stands out.
"It doesn't bother me," he said."We're all here to worship God."
And besides, he added with a grin, opera singers like attention.
"I know I'm somewhat of an enigma."
Highland members were most surprised to learn that McMurray grew up in Fayetteville.His father, a retired Air Force master sergeant, works as an electrical engineer.
His mother is a customer service manager at Wal-Mart.William and Carolyn McMurray live in Arran Lake.
Growing up, McMurray sang in church and school choirs.
Four years in a row, he performed with the North Carolina Honors Chorus.But he did not realize he had a special talent for singing until a teacher at Albritton Junior High told him so.
After graduating from South View High School, McMurray studied music at East Carolina University and performed in his first opera.He thought he would become a music teacher.
He was working as a substitute when he received the first call from an opera company.
Since then, he has performed with companies all over the country, from New Hampshire to Colorado.He is negotiating now with his 10th opera company.
Opera singers rarely stay in one place.They usually follow certain roles.McMurray's new job in Chicago will only last six weeks.
After that, he goes to the next one.It is a lot of moving around, but living out of a suitcase does not seem to bother McMurray.He gravitates to opera.
"That's what exciting to me," he said, "I get to be someone else."
Between singing jobs or when one falls through, like it did this summer, he comes home to Fayetteville.
He looks for a church, usually a Presbyterian one.A large sanctuary helps.
McMurray may quietly slip into a pew and let loose with that deep rich voice.
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