The American Spiritual Ensemble Residency First Performance

American Spiritual Ensemble

A Community Welcome Assembly at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in Guerry Auditorium, will be the first public performance of the American Spiritual Ensemble's five-day Sewanee residency. The event‌ includes community participants from two local schools, Sewanee Elementary School fifth grade, and the vocal ensemble from St. Andrew's-Sewanee School. The school students will join the ASE in leading a sing-along of familiar texts and tunes. University representatives will also participate and extend their welcome to the visiting artists.

The American Spiritual Ensemble (ASE), with a mission of keeping the African American spiritual alive, was founded in 1995 by Everett McCorvey, professor of voice and director of opera at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. McCorvey and César Leal, conductor of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra and assistant professor of music, have been colleagues since Leal received a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky.

Other performances during the residency include a joint concert with the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra on Friday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Guerry Auditorium.  The program includes vocal works of Ellington and Gershwin, including excerpts of Porgy and Bess.  The final performance will be Saturday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in All Saints' Chapel.  The ASE will present a concert of spirituals, jazz and Broadway numbers highlighting the Black experience.

All performances during the residency are free, and open to the public thanks to the generous University partners All Saints’ Chapel, the Office of the Dean of Students, the School of Theology, the Office of the Dean of the College, the Performing Arts Series, and Dr. François S. Clemmons.  

The University has also received a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission in support of the project.

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Guerry Auditorium