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.