Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 5, 2013

American Spiritual Ensemble performs this week

VALDOSTA — South Georgians will have the opportunity to better understand and appreciate the African-American spiritual this week as the American Spiritual Ensemble takes the stage of Valdosta State University’s Whitehead Auditorium.

“Music was the central part of the enslaved Africans’ lives. They sang when they were sick, well, happy or sad. Brought to America and stripped of everything — wife, husband, children, language — they were left with the song,” says Shirley H. Hardin, director of VSU African-American Studies and an English professor, explaining the Spiritual based on a conversation with Dr. Everett McCorvey, American Spiritual Ensemble’s founder and musical director.

“Ricky Little, assistant conductor of the ASE, claims that ‘having heard Christian music, the enslaved African was impressed by the message of love, hope, happiness, freedom, forgiveness and judgment.’

“An American art form, the Negro spirituals are songs that came from the heart through the religion of Christianity,” Hardin says.

“The mission of the American Spiritual Ensemble is to keep the American Negro spiritual alive,” according to the group. “The repertoire ranges from

spirituals to classical to Broadway and dance.”

McCorvey grew up in Montgomery, Ala., where he noticed the slow loss of the Spiritual. To keep this musical form vital and vibrant, he created an ensemble featuring professional opera singers. The American Spiritual Ensemble has toured throughout the United States, England, Italy, Germany, Scotland, Spain and Japan.

Hardin credits Dr. Connie L. Richards, College of Arts and Sciences dean, for attracting the ensemble to VSU. Richards saw the ensemble twice in concert, and she encouraged the African-American Studies program to schedule the group for a Valdosta visit.

In addition to the concert Wednesday, McCorvey will conduct a master class with Dr. Paul Neal, director of VSU choral studies and the VSU Chamber Singers. The concert includes two opening songs from the VSU Chamber Singers: “John Saw Duh Numbuh” and “I Can Tell the World.”

The American Spiritual Ensemble presents a concert that delves deep into the African-American experience but also salutes more recent Broadway songs. The audience can expect songs such as “Walk Together Children,” “Steal Away,” “I Wanna Be Ready,” “Ezekiel Saw de Wheel,” “I Know I Got Religion,” “Sit Down, Servant, Sit Down,” “Lift Every Voice and Sing (Negro National Anthem),” “God’s Trombones” (Poems by James Weldon Johnson; poems based on sermons and music based on Spirituals), “Circle of Life” (from “The Lion King”), “Ol’ Man River,” etc.

Hardin says “their soul-stirring performance will help kick off the university’s observance of African-American History Month.”

CONCERT

VSU African-American Studies and VSU Music present the American Spiritual Ensemble.

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Where: Whitehead Auditorium, VSU Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookwood.

Admission: Free and open to the public.

More information: Contact Dr. Shirley H. Hardin, (229) 249-4843.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • doug henderson.jpg Memorial tourney returns

    The Doug Henderson III Memorial Golf Tournament has raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and to help organizations throughout the region.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914-WA-Egghunt021.jpg Park puts wild spin on Easter tradition

    Adventurous egg hunters braved overcast skies and a persistent drizzle to search for hidden prizes Saturday during Wild Adventure’s first Ostrich Egg Hunt.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenTree003.JPG More spills reported

    City of Valdosta employees have spent the weekend responding to spills caused by several inches of rain that have again drenched the city during the past few days.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Underwater Easter_Rich copy.jpg Stories behind ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’

    Christ comes from the Greek word, “Christos,” meaning “the anointed one.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418_valwood001.jpg Valwood students register to vote

    Valwood teaches its students about the importance of voting. Each year, the school has encouraged eligible seniors to register to vote and participate in local elections.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • wadebrandon14.jpg Police still seeking missing mother, son

    Though their assignments have changed during the past dozen years, Valdosta Police Capt. Bobbi McGraw and Sgt. Chris Crews continue working the case of a missing mother and her son.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Minor flooding expected

    Minor flooding of the Withlacoochee River is expected this weekend thanks to the day-long rains across South Georgia Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Wastewater hazards assessed

    During heavy rain events, five to 15 manholes throughout the city are at risk of overflowing into local waterways, according to the City of Valdosta.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418-VSU_HSBA003.jpg Valdosta State cuts ribbon for health, business building

    Eighteen months after breaking ground on the project, Valdosta State University held the official ribbon cutting Friday for its Health Sciences and Business Administration Building.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results