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
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
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
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.
Knoxville Handel Society, a multi-generational community choir, returns to The Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus for its fall concert of American Spirituals.
The performance of Haydn’s Creation on April 29 opened the Cathedral Concert Series to a standing-room-only audience. It was thrilling to witness the oratorio in the beautiful sacred space of Sacred Heart.
If you experienced The Creation with KHS, the impact of that evening has had profound effect. Choir, soloists, orchestra and conductor Wendell Boertje were invigorated by the eager faces of the audience. It was intimate and deeply moving. Knoxville Handel Society continues to present dynamic masterworks and promote the Choral Arts.
Dr. Everett McCorvey is Guest Conductor for American Spirituals Concert November 18
Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is the setting for the American Spirituals Concert. Everett McCorvey is Guest Conductor. McCorvey is founder and Music Director of internationally recognized American Spiritual Ensemble, a dynamic group of professional musicians. Four soloists from American Spiritual Ensemble will join Knoxville Handel Society to add vibrancy to this performance of American Negro Spirituals on November 18. Well-known spirituals will be powerfully presented by Knoxville Handel Society. This concert will stir hearts and spirits, and encourages broader participation in the community. Purchase tickets early to ensure your enjoyment of a spectacular event!
Tickets are available now through Knoxville Tickets at 865.656.4444 or online.
Purchase tickets here at knoxvilletickets.com.
Adults $20; groups of 4 or more $15; College students $10; K-12 Students no charge. NO CHARGE tickets for Students K -12 must be ordered in person at the Thompson-Boling Arena Box Office.
Dr. Everett McCorvey describes his early music career and a relentless pursuit of musical excellence.
The American Spiritual Concert on November 18 at 7:00 PM is an event of the Cathedral Concert Series at Sacred Heart Cathedral. The Cathedral Concert Series provides the community with opportunities to enjoy sacred and classical music and to support Community Arts. Knoxville Handel Society will present a program of well-loved spirituals, and introduce ones which may become your new favorites. Music is a universal language, with the power to unify and heal. It forges bonds of brotherhood through faith and art and inspires dialog. A special invitation is extended to our African-American community to attend this event.
Sacred Heart Cathedral’s vision for enabling arts organizations has been a gift to the Knoxville metropolitan community. Dedicated in March 2018, Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is an exquisite sacred space. Their extension of hospitality for the arts has created opportunities for greater community.