Denison University’s Vail Series presents a virtual experience with the American Spiritual Ensemble “The Power of Spirituals.” As a prelude to their Swasey Chapel concert in February 2022, the captivating voices of American Spiritual Ensemble combine with narratives from Eileen Guenther’s recently published book, "In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals" to present residency activities and a captivating virtual experience.
The virtual experience explores some of the forty subjects found in the Spirituals - issues integral to the culture of slavery ranging from family, labor, escape, and punishment, to faith, comfort, hope, and freedom— “always freedom.”
The powerful music and spoken words of this presentation not only shine a light on the events of the past, but also offer hope and reconciliation to present-day circumstances.
Founded in 1995 by Everett McCorvey, The American Spiritual Ensemble is a critically-acclaimed professional group composed of some of the finest singers in the classical music world. The vocalists have thrilled audiences around the world with their dynamic renditions of classic spirituals and Broadway numbers.
As a tenor soloist, McCorvey has performed in many venues, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and Radio City Music Hall in New York. During the summers, McCorvey is on the artist faculty of the American Institute of Musical Study (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. McCorvey currently holds the rank of Professor of Voice and Director of Opera at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.
Guenther is professor of church music at Wesley Theological Seminary. She teaches music and worship courses, directs the chapel choir, co-directs the chapel services. She is a national and international organ recitalist and has performed in recordings with Etherea Records, the US Air Force Orchestra, Vista Records (London) and Foundry Records. As an extension of her music ministry, she leads workshops nationally for musical and denominational organizations.
At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, as a part of campus residency activities, McCorvey will join Denison Forward Cultural Conversation Series.
Cultural Conversation Series is a community-building, listening-to-learn experience where participants engage with peers to deliberate on topics pertaining to inclusion, equity, belonging and otherness. Conversations are intended to build upon socially relevant topics and increase community awareness through organic candid interactions. They are hosting McCorvey to learn more about his story on establishing and sustaining the American Spiritual Ensemble during a historical era. This is presented in partnership with Denison Forward and the Office of Multicultural Students Affairs.
The Cultural Conversations is free and open to the public but registration is required.
Register for the Cultural Conversations zoom link at https://denison.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0qf—vqDguHdzvmUSfBXd8aNnS_RLVfsIx