Our most recent concert at the beautiful First Baptist Church was, in many ways, the bittersweet realization of the vision of Knoxville Handel Society co-founders Don King and Wendell Boertje.
That vision has included the presentation of major choral works like Messiah (Parts II and III) with Guest Conductor Don Neuen; Haydn’s Creation, directed by Boertje; a program of spirituals with American Spiritual Ensemble soloists, directed by ASE director Everett McCorvey; great hymns and anthems from diverse traditions.
On April 28, 2019, Knoxville Handel Society members sang with full and heavy hearts as they, accompanied by organ, full orchestra, and bagpipes, presented How Great Thou Art: Glorious Hymns & Classical Anthems mere days after the passing of Don King, their beloved, energetic co-director who lovingly planned every detail of the concert.
From the opening procession of the piper, the wide-ranging musical selections, with audience participation in heritage hymns, the souls of all present were stirred in a beautiful tribute to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Tears flowed in sadness and gratitude as we rested in the beauty of the evening.
(This description was written by a participating member of Knoxville Handel Society.)
How Great Thou Art | Glorious Hymns and Classical Anthems | April 28, 2019 at 6:00 PM
Venue: 510 W Main Street, Knoxville TN 37902.
Knoxville Handel Society anticipates the vocal command of the featured soloists: John Wesley Wright, tenor; Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming, soprano; Kevin Thompson, bass; and Hope Koehler, soprano. All four soloists perform with the American Spiritual Ensemble, and are featured in performances internationally.
John Wesley Wright, Tenor
John Wesley Wright, tenor
Tenor John Wesley Wright, D.M.A., is known for his soulful interpretations of music from baroque to Broadway. Holding degrees from Maryville College and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Dr. Wright is a native of Rome, Georgia and coordinates the voice and opera programs at Salisbury University in Maryland.
Hope Koehler, Soprano
Hope Koehler, soprano
Born in Chattanooga, Dr. Koehler has Tennessee connections. She received her B.A. degree from Lipscomb University in Nashville. Dr. Koehler received graduate degrees, Master of Music in Voice Performance from University of Alabama; and D.M.A. from University of Kentucky. Her voice has been described as having “the richness of Marilyn Horne at the bottom and the clarion clarity of Leontyne Price at the top.” Dr. Koehler is currently Associate Professor and Coordinator of Voice Studies at West Virginia University.
Kevin Thompson, bass
Kevin Thompson, bass
Singing throughout the world, Mr. Thompson is at home both on the opera and concert stage. “The excitement his performances generate has captured international attention: a voluminous bass with exquisite overtone-rich timbers and rafter-shaking sonority.” A native of Washington, D.C., Mr. Thompson is a graduate of The Juillard School. Knoxville Opera featured him as Ramfis in the May 2018 performance of Aida.
Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming, soprano
Ms. Cunningham-Fleming is a regular soloist and Assistant Director with the American Spiritual Ensemble. Her repertoire encompasses opera, oratorio, choral masterworks, jazz, and art song. Interpretation of the African American spiritual is a high point of her artistry. Ms. Cunningham-Fleming received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at Oakwood University. She obtained her master’s degree in vocal performance at Mannes College of Music; and has completed a doctoral degree at the University of Kentucky.
We are making space for you to attend the American Spirituals Concert!
A surge in ticket demand has created opportunity for a matinee performance. The program advertised for 7:00 PM on November 18 is nearing capacity. To accommodate the interest shown, a matinee performance will occur at 3:30 PM. This daytime window will be ideal for students and those preferring not to travel after dark. Experience the heart and soul of American Spirituals, performed in the exquisite space of Sacred Heart Cathedral, 711 S. Northshore Drive, Knoxville, TN 37919.
Guest Conductor Everett McCorvey will invigorate and inspire. Young people will be engaged. Adults will be captivated. The musicians will sing their hearts out.
Sacred Heart Cathedral provides an inspiring space for great music that stirs the heart and soul.
Photo taken April 29, 2018 at the Knoxville Handel Society performance of The Creation, by Joseph Haydn.