Ensemble dedicated to spirituals to perform

Washington group to sing at church in Ellicott City

Howard Live

April 24, 2003

First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ellicott City will present the National Spiritual Ensemble on May 4 in the final performance of the Artist Series Concert Season.

Formerly known as the New England Spiritual Ensemble, the group of nine conservatory-trained professional singers has moved its base of operation to the nation's capital. The ensemble works to preserve the art and tradition of Negro spirituals.

Founded by bass baritone Vincent Dion Stringer, the group made its debut in 1994 at Boston Symphony Hall. The ensemble has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and National Public Radio's Performance Today. Its recording Comin' Up Shouting features arrangements of spirituals and works of John Andrew Ross.

The program, inspired by the painting Sing Me On Up to Heaven Chillun! by the Rev. Alan Laird of Oakland, Calif., will feature spirituals such as "Deep River," arranged by Harry T. Burleigh, and "Soon-Ah Will Be Done," by William Dawson.

The ensemble for the Ellicott City concert will include 14 performers. The others were added because the concert is being recorded.

The performers are: sopranos Jerris Cates, Vikki Jones, Christine Sullivan and Alia Waheed; altos Myran Parker-Brass, Patricia Simmons and Sylvia Twine; tenors Keith Craig, Colin Eaton and Charles Sullivan; basses Reginald Allen, Louis Davis and Vincent Dion Stringer; and organist and pianist Marvin Mills.

The concert is to begin at 3 p.m. Tickets, available by mail or at the door, are $15 for general admission and $5 for children ages 16 and younger.

First Evangelical Lutheran Church is at 3604 Chatham Road, Ellicott City.

Information: 410-465-2977.

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