Michael Whitney Brown, Singer/Songwriter & Authentic Gospel Musician

Michael Brown HeadshotIf there’s one thing I can say about Michael Brown, it’s this: he is the real deal — unpretentious, sincere, passionate, joyful, loving, and extremely intense both in art and in life. An astonishingly talented musician, his fingers glide over the piano keys with a scintillating flair matched only by his rich, soulful voice and captivating stage presence. But Michael is much more than just a gifted performer; he’s a natural communicator and a profoundly inspiring leader whose warmth, charisma and life-affirming energy are infectious and irresistible. Part life coach, part philosopher, part preacher of peace, he leads his followers on a transformative journey that is as much about introspection, spirituality, and human connection as it is about learning gospel songs.

I’ve collaborated with Michael enough times to know that he will undoubtedly bring down the house at Singing Together for Peace, a festival of gospel and folk music on May 12, 2018 at Woolsey Hall, which is being presented by Saecula Choir Foundation in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Elm City & United Girls’ Choirs. As guest artist at the festival, Michael will Continue reading

James Davis Jr. and the Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir

james-davis-jr-headshot-bwJames Davis Jr. is Director of Music Ministries & Fine Arts at Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. Well-versed in a wide variety of musical styles, he has supervised productions at Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Apollo Theater. He has also produced and arranged music for both film and television, including Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer and a State Farm Insurance commercial commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, and has collaborated with legendary artists including Ashford & Simpson, Alicia Keys, Jessye Norman, John Legend, Lyle Lovett, Richard Smallwood and Wynton Marsalis.

Davis will be conducting the renowned Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir in a performance at the Continue reading

Jamie Spillane – “Love more, spread joy!”

spillaneheadshotDr. Jamie Spillane is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Connecticut. Widely admired for his charismatic leadership style, musical versatility, and commitment to educational excellence, he is in high demand as a guest clinician, adjudicator, and festival conductor throughout the United States. Dr. Spillane was the 2015 recipient of CT ACDA’s Choral Director of the Year Award, and he will be conducting the UConn Chamber Singers in a performance at the at the Fall Conference of CT ACDA on October 29, 2016.

I recently interviewed Dr. Spillane about his work, and he shared some fascinating thoughts about leadership, education, and the difference between a “crowd” and a “choir”, as well as advice for inexperienced conductors and reflections on his own journey as a Continue reading