Rev. Raymond Wise, Ph. D., a native of Baltimore, Md., is the son of C. Dexter Wise Jr. and Rev. Julia Virginia Wise. He began his musical career at the age of three, singing gospel music with his family singing group “The Wise Singers.” Rev. Wise was educated through the Baltimore City Public School System and graduated second out of a class of 500 from the Paul Laurence Dunbar Community High School in 1979.
He then went on to Denison University (Granville, Ohio) where he reorganized the Black Student Union Choir, started the Black Student Union Ensemble and Dance company, and earned a B.F.A. in Music. From there he went on to study Opera, Art, and German at the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, Austria, then on to study African-American History, Music, and Dance at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California. He completed an apprenticeship in the business and recording of Gospel Music with the Walter Hawkins Corporation in Oakland, California. Rev. Wise was awarded a Graduate Fellowship from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio where he earned his Masters in Music Education and Ohio Teacher’s Certification. He also completed a Doctorate in Music Education at the Ohio State University for which his dissertation topic is “Defining African American Gospel Music by Tracing its Historical and Musical Development from 1900 to 2000.”
Rev. Wise began his acting career at the age of 9 when he played the role of Benjamin in a regional theater production of “The Me Nobody Knows”. He sang the role of Amahl in Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” As a teen, he served as a chorus member and soloist for the Baltimore Opera Company’s education outreach program and performed nationally and abroad with the Paul Laurence Dunbar Chamber Singers, under the direction of Hugh Carey. Wise has performed as a countertenor in such works as Handel’s Messiah and in Leslie Burrs’ work entitled “Declaration of Joy” written for gospel chorus, soloist, and orchestra. Wise performed the role of Marcus in the Opera Columbus premiere of Susan Kander’s opera entitled “Somebody’s Children” and performed the solo for several of Copland’s Old American Songs with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and served as a guest soloist, conductor, and/or composer with the Nashville, Littleton, Akron, Ithaca College, and Czech National Symphonies.
Raymond Wise has served as a church minister of music for more than 40 years. Also, he has served as the musical director for more than 30 choirs and has prepared choirs to perform for national recording artists such as Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Yolanda Adams, Tramaine Hawkins, Wintley Phipps, and others. Wise served as the Chorus Master for the world premiere of the Opera Columbus Production of Leslie Burrs’ “Vanqui” and Assistant Chorus Master for the Opera Columbus Production of “Aida.” Wise served as chorus master for Leslie Burrs “Declaration of Joy” and the Columbus Symphony production of Hannibal Lokumbe’s “African Portraits.” Wise also served as the musical director for Carlyle Brown’s production of “Yellow Moon.” Wise served as the Co-Musical director for “Harlem Hallelujah,” a live Sunday morning service at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.