An Evening of American Negro Spirituals – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

An Evening of American Negro Spirituals

A concert featuring François S. Clemmons, tenor, and Kate Gridley, pianist, will be performed in the Davis Gallery at Houghton House on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m.

The concert, “Fifty Years After Selma: an Evening of American Negro Spirituals,” will include musical selections titled “Ah Woke Up This Morning With My Mind,” “Lil Boy How Ol’ Are You,” and “Everytime I Feel the Spirit” among others.

Kathryn Vaughn, visual arts curator in the Department of Art and Architecture, says the event is a wonderful opportunity for our community.

“The performance ties in very nicely with the diversity of Gridley’s portraits of young adults. It also allows us an opportunity to share with everyone our lovely gallery with its grand piano and to celebrate Black History Month in a rich and exciting manner.”

As founder and director of the world-famous Harlem Spiritual Ensemble, Clemmons performs regularly all over America, Europe, and Asia, carrying on his vision for preserving, sustaining and commissioning new and traditional arrangements of American Negro Spirituals for future generations.

In honor of his work with the American Negro Spiritual in lecture demonstrations, recitals, and master classes as well as his teaching at Middlebury College, Clemmons received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Carnegie-Mellon University in 2004. In addition, he has sung with numerous orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Colorado State Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Florida State Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Youngstown Symphony, Salina Orchestra, and the Hanover Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra.

Painter and musician Kate Gridley maintains a painting studio in Middlebury, Vt., where she has lived and painted full time since 1991. Gridley trained at the Mannes School of Music in New York for nine years, studying classical piano, theory and composition, before studying privately in college, culminating in an independent study and recital. Simultaneously, Gridley sang in auditioned choirs large and small, from madrigal ensembles, to barbershop quartets, Bach choirs, even a 300-voice choir with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to founding The Allegro Chorus in Middlebury, Vt., Gridley has accompanied on piano numerous singers, stage productions and local school events for the past 15 years. She has performed in multiple stage productions at The Town Hall Theater. She is the accompanist at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society.

Gridley’s installation “Passing Through: Portraits of Emerging Adults,” a set of 17 over life-size oil portraits paired with sound portraits (recorded by former NPR correspondent Anne Garrels) is currently at the Davis Gallery and travelling through New England. Completed in 2013, and underwritten by the Vermont Community Foundation, The Vermont Folk Life Center, the Growald Family Foundation, and numerous private donors.

Refreshments will be provided and the exhibition “Kate Gridley: Passing Through, Portraits of Emerging Adults” will be open to view.