Spirituals: Songs of the Soul Concert March 31 @ 3:00 pm

February 17, 2019

After Harriet, Joseph Holston, mixed media on canvas, 2008. From Color in Freedom: Journey along the Underground Railroad.

After Harriet, Joseph Holston, mixed media on canvas, 2008. From Color in Freedom: Journey along the Underground Railroad.

Please mark your calendars and plan on attending the Spring Concert, Spirituals: Songs of the Soul on Sunday, March 31st at 3:00 p.m.  The Adult Choir, Westminster Choir, Junior Choir, Cherub Choir, and World Percussion Ensemble will perform a spirituals concert with Metropolitan opera tenor, Michael Forest; acclaimed soprano, Angelique Clay-Everett; and internationally renowned opera singer, Michael Preacely.  The concert will feature such spirituals as Who Will Be A Witness, You Better Min’, Swing Down Chariot, Wade in the Water, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, Steal Away, Deep River, and others.  Justin Pearson will give voice to the stories of the past with relevant quotations from those who were slaves.  American Baptist Minister, civil rights leader, and scholar, Benjamin Mays in 1933 said of spirituals, “They represent the soul-life of the people.  They embody the joy and sorrow, the hope and despair, the pathos and aspiration of the newly transplanted people; and through them the race was able to endure suffering and survive.  They are songs of the soil and of the soul.”  We will discover how these songs of the soil and of the soul still speak to us today.



Heralded for her “soaring lyric soprano voice,” Angelique Clay Everett has garnered performances in the United States, Europe, and South America. Operatic roles include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, the title role of Susannah from Floyd’s American drama Susannah, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Lily and Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Her oratorio repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.  Dr. Clay Everett has recorded and toured as a soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble throughout the United States, Spain and Brazil.  She has performed with international as well as regional orchestras such as the Slovak State Philharmonic, in Kosice, Slovak Republic; Sinfonia Warsovia in Poland; Missouri Symphony Society; Knoxville Symphony Orchestra; Lexington Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra and Arcadiana Symphony Orchestra. She was a featured recitalist at the National Opera Association Legacy Awards Celebration in Washington D.C. in 1999, and a guest soloist on In Performance at the Governor’s Mansion, a Public Television performance sponsored by the Governor’s Office in Kentucky, highlighting artists of note from Kentucky. Dr. Clay Everett is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Kentucky.


Tenor, Michael Forest is an Associate Professor of Voice at Shenandoah Conservatory.  He is a frequent soloist at the Kennedy Center with the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the Washington Chorus.  Symphonic engagements include performances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, BBC Orchestra, and L’Orchestre du Montreal.  Forest was a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artists Development Program from 1989 to 1992 and an Apprentice Artist with both the Wolf Trap Opera Company and the Santa Fe Opera Company.  In twenty-three seasons with the Metropolitan Opera, he has sung over 280 performances of nineteen different roles.  Additionally, he performed with the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Washington’s Concert Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, Wexford Opera, and Ash Lawn Opera Festival.  Recording credits include Gershwin’s, Porgy and Bess (EMI); Mozart’s, Le Nozze di Figaro (Deutsche Gramophone); (BMG’s) Grammy Award winning recording of John Corigliano’s Rage and Remembrance; R. Nathaniel Dett’s, Chariot Jubilee (Vocalessence, Clarion Label); Sing Noel, Washington Chorus, (DVD); Rossini, Semiramide, Metropolitan Opera, (DVD); and Puccini, La Fanciulla del West, Metropolitan Opera.


American baritone, Michael Preacely is a rising star on the operatic stage and is also known for a versatile singing ability and style that allow him to cross between genres from classical repertoire to pop, contemporary, and Broadway. He has received critical acclaim for many of his performances, including Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Scarpia in Tosca, Ford in Falstaff, Marcello in La Boheme, the High Priest in Samson and Delilah, and Porgy and Jake in Porgy and Bess. Mr. Preacely has performed with many major and regional opera houses and orchestras in the U

nited States and abroad. Recently, Mr. Preacely completed a European tour of Porgy and Bess where he received great reviews for his performance of both Porgy and Jake. He also toured Russia in a concert series with New York based Opera Noire, debuted with Opera Memphis in the role of Marullo with a Rigoletto Cover, and Opéra de Montréal in the role of Jake. Michael has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Opera Company Philadelphia, Opera Memphis, Kentucky Opera, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Bohème Opera of New Jersey.  Mr. Preacely’s success on the concert stage has blossomed with some of the nation’s leading orchestras, including the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Greater Trenton Choral Society, and the American Spiritual Ensemble.  Currently, Mr. Preacely is working on the release of his first album, Spirituals and Hymns, followed by a series of concerts and recitals in various venues across the United States.



Tickets for this concert are $15.00 advance purchase and $20.00 at the door. Student tickets are free.


If you would like to be an individual or corporate sponsor for this event, please designate in your memo line “Spring Concert Sponsorship”.  Please send an email to Jane Hagness at jhagness@firstparish.net, indicating how you would like your name to appear in the program.

A free-will offering will be available at the end of the concert to support Preble Street’s anti-human-trafficking services.



Artwork above: After Harriet, Joseph Holston, mixed media on canvas, 2008. From Color in Freedom:  Journey along the Underground Railroad.


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