Doug Carnes named GNU’s new director

Changing the world through music is Great Northern Union’s vision. Now that dream is one shared with its new director. 

The Great Northern Union Chorus is proud to announce the hiring of its newest front-line director: Doug Carnes, of Dix Hills, New York.

“My biggest dream is to change the world through music,” Carnes said recently of his hiring. “In my opinion, Great Northern Union is making the biggest strides in our society regarding community outreach, fundraising for schools in need and perpetuating our society as a choral art form outside of barbershop. That vision is one they have shared with many directors, presidents and Barbershop Harmony Society’s (BHS) staff. This quite literally goes hand in hand with my personal mission statement. In order to change the world through music, the minds of today must be focused on the minds of tomorrow.”

At only 25 years old, Carnes has already amassed a lifetime of experience that will help him lead the chorus to new heights. A selection of Carnes’ musical credits include performing as a percussionist with Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway, finishing in the top 10 with The Good Old Days quartet in the BHS Collegiate Quartet Contest in 2013, serving as president and director of Long Island Sound Chorus, and assisting BHS with outreach for the No Borders Youth Chorus and its performance at Carnegie Hall in N.Y. in 2012.

Carnes holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and earned his master’s degree in choral conducting, both from Five Towns College in New York.

Carnes will be just the fourth front-line musical director in GNU’s 29-year history. He succeeds Peter Benson, who led the chorus for the past 12 years, a period that included eight top 10 finishes in the BHS International Chorus Contest and two second-place silver medals in 2011 and 2012.

Musically, Carnes hopes to pick up right where Benson left off.

“It’s not just barbershop audiences anymore,” Carnes said. “Although we will never turn a cheek to our wonderful barbershop-crazed fans, the beautiful thing about GNU is that we are starting to reach new audiences that have never even heard barbershop harmony before. We are going to hit the ground running with new plans, new performances, new music and hopefully some new collaborations in the future! The GNU board and music team run like a well-oiled machine. So keep a watch out for some great performances and a ton of fun.”

Carnes will be appearing at GNU’s May 16 annual show and will begin full rehearsals with the chorus on July 9, following appearances at the BHS International Convention.

To learn more about Doug Carnes, visit Great Northern Union webpage:


MEDIA CONTACT: GNU President Kirk Lindberg ([email protected]; 651.247.9096)


Jerry Germain's picture

I'll have to give this young lad a whirl! Can't wait to get back on stage with GNU!

Brett Littlefield's picture

To the Gentlemen of the Great Northern Union Chorus. Congratulations on finding your new Director, Doug Carnes. May you strive and succeed in all of your endeavors. I wish Mr. Carnes the best of luck and patience, patience, patience! I have one piece of advice for Mr. Carnes...Do it YOUR way.

Onward and upward,

Brett Littlefield

Marilyn Domenech-Rodriguez's picture

I always knew you were my special and talented Carnes! So, So proud of you Doug and wishing you the best and all the success you deserve! Much love Doug!

Rich Taylor's picture

To all of the wonderful members of the Great Northern Union. have stolen one of the greatest conductors from the Mid Atlantic District and I am confident that you will be proud and excited about that decision. I just had the privilege of producing the inaugural High Point Youth Harmony Explosion Festival, the 3rd in MAD. Doug Carnes was the senior clinician. His professionalism and energy impressed every one of the 60 students who attended the 1st Annual event. I wish you all the blessing of getting to know Doug and to discover what an amazing human being you have chosen as your new Musical Director.