COVINGTON, Va. – The world-renowned American Spiritual Ensemble (ASE) will return as a featured presentation of the Alleghany Highlands Arts Council’s Performing Arts Series on Sunday, Feb. 26. The matinee performance will be held at Covington High School in Curfman Hall at 3 p.m.
Comprised of some of the finest classically trained singers in the United States, the ASE continues its mission of keeping the American negro spiritual alive. Vocalists have dazzled audiences around the world with their dynamic repertoire ranging from spirituals to classical to jazz and Broadway numbers. The exquisite sound comes from an ensemble of accomplished soloists who have sung worldwide in theaters and opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera and abroad in Italy, Germany, Britain, Scotland, Spain and Japan.
Dr. Everett McCorvey, founder and director of ASE, is a dean of voice and opera studies at the University of Kentucky. He’s also the director of the National Chorale based in New York City. As a tenor soloist, he has enjoyed critical acclaim around the globe, including the Kennedy Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Metropolitan Opera and Italy’s Teatro Comunale. NFL fans may have seen him singing the national anthem to start the Bengals/Ravens game on Jan. 8 on CBS.
The ensemble is a favorite of local audiences, as this will be their seventh trip to the Alleghany Highlands. The group will perform concerts at both local high schools while in the Highlands.
“We are always excited to have our friends from the ASE perform in our series. Their sound is unsurpassed, and the rich history they bring with regard to the old spirituals is inspirational,” said Arts Council Executive Director Tammy Scruggs-Duncan. “We hope setting the concert midday will be convenient for our patrons. And be on the lookout for a cameo appearance by singers from our own community.”
This visit by the American Spiritual Ensemble is underwritten by a grant from the Alleghany Foundation and a special gift from Highlands Community Bank. The Arts Council also receives supplemental funding through the Virginia Commission for the Arts.