Singing in the Spirit: Community Sing and Workshop (February 21)

Monday, February 6, 2023
Join Dr. Everett McCorvey, Founder, and Director of the American Spiritual Ensemble, and Dr. Eileen Gunther, conductor, lecturer, and author of In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals, along with acclaimed collaborative pianist, Dr. Tedrin Lindsay, for an evening community sing and workshop exploring the meaning, influence, structure, and context of negro spirituals.

"During the era of slavery, those who labored in captivity pioneered a musical motif that began as unaccompanied songs of sorrow and hope. They have morphed into the music only America can lay claim to. This is our mother music. It is the music that helped America find its musical voice and define what we now call ‘the American sound. All of the musical genres that have evolved over the past few centuries — including jazz, blues, gospel, rock and even rap, are deeply rooted in the spirituals.” - Dr. Everett McCorvey

This community sing and workshop is intended for choral singers, music directors, and anyone who loves music! Come ready to sing!

The cost to attend is $25 per singer, which includes the cost of the music. Each singer will receive a packet of sheet music when they arrive for the workshop.

When: Tuesday, February 21st from 6:30 - 9:00 PM
Where: First Presbyterian Church 171 Market Street, Lexington, KY 40507

Through discussion of historical, social, and political context and performance of African American spirituals and other African American song traditions, participants will explore:

1. Music from an African American worldview
2. The values embedded in the music
3. The role of cultural and spiritual traditions and rituals
4. Ways in which leadership emerges and can be shared
5. Cultural responses to and influences on political and social struggle
6. The significance and power of a shared communal experience

This workshop is made possible by the Bluegrass Community Foundation through the Better Together Grant initiative.

We hope you can join us! Spots are limited so be sure to reserve by February 7th by following the link below


Dr. Everett McCorvey, tenor, is the founder and director of the American Spiritual Ensemble. The mission of the American Spiritual Ensemble (ASE) is to preserve and continue the tradition of storytelling through the performance and preservation of Negro spirituals. ASE commits to preserving these beautiful melodies through performances, lectures, master classes, and educational activities. A native of Montgomery, Alabama, he received his degrees from the University of Alabama, including a Doctorate in Musical Arts. Vocal excellence is a hallmark of Dr. McCorvey’s work. As a teacher, he has given master classes and vocal workshops throughout the United States, Europe, South America, China, Japan, and Poland. Dr. McCorvey is the founder and music director of the American Spiritual Ensemble. McCorvey recently produced a CD anchored in the Lord featuring singers from the Bay View Music Festival’s American Negro Spirituals Intensive Program, where McCorvey serves as Director. His career has spanned all areas of the performing arts industry, from performing to musical directing, vocal teaching, producing, impresario, conducting, union representing, administrative work, and mentoring.

Dr. Eileen Guenther, Professor of Church Music Emerita at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, holds bachelor’s degrees in English and organ from the University of Kansas and master’s and doctoral degrees in musicology and organ from The Catholic University of America. A noted church musician and organ recitalist, Dr. Guenther has also written two critically acclaimed books: Rivals or a Team: Clergy-Musician Relationships in the 21st Century and In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals. She has a passion for the power of the Spiritual and has led over one hundred presentations on In Their Own Words with choirs, soloists and congregations from Atlanta, GA to Ashland OR. Eileen served six years as national President of the American Guild of Organists.