Storytelling through song, Lift Every Voice brings together principal artists and choristers of Omar, accompanied by pianist Brandon Waddles, for a special evening highlighting music of the Black experience. Here is what you should know:
Engaging audiences on a journey from spirituals to contemporary melodies—including Richard Smallwood’s Total Praise, Betty Jackson King’s It’s Me, O Lord, and Roland M. Carter’s Lift Every Voice and Sing—the performance hall will be filled with a remarkable and beautiful story.
Conducted by Vinroy David Brown, Jr., Lift Every Voice is brought to life through five members of the Omar cast, 16 members of the Spoleto Festival USA Chorus, and one pianist.
A Little More…
Vinroy D. Brown, Jr. (conductor)
Vinroy D. Brown, Jr. holds credits in conducting, sacred music and music education. He is a member of the conducting, organ, and sacred music faculty at Westminster Choir College, where he conducts the Westminster Jubilee Singers and teaches African American Choral Literature.
A church musician, he is director of music and worship arts at Elmwood United Presbyterian Church. Maintaining an active conducting schedule, he is founder and artistic director of Elmwood Concert Singers and is artistic director and conductor of Capital Singers of Trenton. He holds a Master of Arts in Practical Theology degree from Regent University and Bachelor of Music degrees in Sacred Music and Music Education from Westminster Choir College.
Catherine Ann Daniel (Katie Ellen, Omar)
Catherine Ann Daniel made her Opera Tampa debut in Carmen singing the title role in 2020. Ms. Daniel studied voice with Coloratura soprano Tracy Dahl at the University of Manitoba. She was a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, and later became a member of the Opera Studio Nederlands in Amsterdam. Her career highlights include singing Emelda Griffiths in Grammy award-winner Terence Blanchard’s opera Champion with l’Opéra de Montréal, debuting Klytemnestra in Edmonton Opera’s production of Elektra, singing Elisabetta in Knoxville Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and debuting at Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Haydyn’s Mass in Time of war.
Cheryse McLeod Lewis (Fatima, Omar)
Cheryse McLeod Lewis enjoys a diverse career in opera, musical theater, commercial, print, and voiceover. Ms. Lewis makes her Spoleto Festival USA debut this season as The Mother in the world premiere opera Omar. Recent highlights include Bess Understudy/ Ensemble Swing in the 1st National Broadway Tour of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Girlfriend 3/Congregant 3 in Blue (Seattle Opera), and Cinderella’s Stepmother in Into the Woods (Village Theatre). Ms. Lewis’ recent commercial, print, and voiceover credits include national ads for Amazon, Microsoft, Costco, T-Mobile, and Zillow.
Laquita Mitchell (Julie, Omar)
Laquita Mitchell consistently earns acclaim on eminent international opera and concert stages worldwide. Ms. Mitchell performed as the soprano soloist in the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road at Carnegie Hall with Oratorio Society of New York which was nominated for a 2021 Grammy for Best Choral Performance. She appeared in New York Philharmonic’s Bandwagon concerts and the Kauffmann Music Center’s Musical Storefront as part of New York City’s Pop-Up Arts Revival, as well as in Bard Music Festival’s concert performances of Nadia Boulanger and Her World. She has performed with San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, The Tanglewood Festival, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and many more.
Jamez Mccorkle (Omar, Omar)
Jamez Mccorkle is an innate musician and trained pianist. Jamez McCorkle is gathering acclaim as a hugely exciting talent. Following his time at the Zürich International Opera Studio in 2019, McCorkle was a finalist in the much-coveted Neue Stimmen competition and has since made anticipated debuts at the Metropolitan Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Bayerische Staatsoper. Highlights of the 2021/22 season include his house and role debut as Telemaco in a new production of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with Theatre Basel; the title role in the world premiere of Rhiannon Giddens’ new opera based on the life of Omar Ibn Said at Spoleto Festival USA; and Leonard Woolfe in Kevin Puts’ new opera The Hours with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Michael Redding (Abdul, Omar)
Michael Redding has been thrilling audiences in the US and in Europe with his vocalism and theatrical presence in roles ranging from Mozart to classic American Music Theatre. His recent performances include Uncle Paul in the world premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones with Opera Theatre of St Louis, Carl Magnus’s A Little Night Music with Piedmont Opera, Escamillo’s Carmen with Opera on the James, Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the Madison Symphony, concert performances of Porgy and Bess with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic, La Verdi Orchestra, Milan, and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Brandon Waddles (piano)
Brandon Waddles enjoys a multifaceted career spanning the musical gamut as a composer, conductor, educator, and music director. Dr. Waddles, a Detroit native, is an Assistant Professor of Choral Conducting and Music Education at Wayne State University. He was recently appointed as Artistic Director of the Rackham Choir, Detroit’s oldest choral organization. Brandon’s choral compositions and arrangements have been published and performed by choral ensembles around the world. In 2019, he was awarded as the inaugural recipient of the ACDA Diverse Voices Collaborative Grant. In addition, he has worked as a transcriber of Black gospel music for numerous choral octavos, hymnals, and hymnal supplements published by GIA, including his recent work as a contributing editor for the One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism hymnal.
The Spoleto Festival Chorus
The Spoleto Festival Chorus is a new professional choir, led by Festival Director of Choral Activities Joe Miller, that builds upon the Festival’s longstanding tradition of exceptional choral music. The Festival Chorus consists of more than 50 vocal fellows with broad and versatile skillsets. Each season, vocal fellows perform major choral works; serve as the choir for Spoleto’s mainstage operas, with select singers covering both large and small roles; and take part in special projects or smaller ensemble works.
Connect on Social
Find vocalist Laquita Mitchell on Instagram.
Find vocalist Jamez McKorkle on Instagram.
Lift Every Voice will take the stage at the Charleston Gaillard Center on Wednesday, June 1 at 8:00pm.