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‘Ain’t That a Witness!’ Black History Month concert Feb. 22

KANNAPOLIS — In celebration of Black History Month, “Ain’t That a Witness!  A Concert of African-American Art Songs and Spirituals” will be performed 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at First Presbyterian Church, 201 Vance Street. The concert will feature Kannapolis native David Hamilton, tenor, LeSondra Brown, soprano, Jason McKinney, baritone and Carol Link Soles, piano. There is no cost for the concert. A freewill offering will be accepted.  


Originally from Milwaukee, McKinney graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied voice with soprano Marilyn Taylor and tenor Glenn Siebert. Jason also studied conducting with Maestro James Allbritten. While in school, McKinney was the recipient of the Helen Odom scholarship, the Music Dean’s Talent scholarship, and the Chancellor’s Grant for Excellence. He was the winner of the 2001 and 2002 Civic Music Association of Milwaukee’s Harold Levin Scholarship Competition and was awarded the Judge’s Choice Award at the 2001 Metropolitan Opera’s District competition. In 2004, he won that competition in the South Carolina District and continued on to place second in the Southeastern Regional Finals. McKinney has performed at many prestigious venues, both in the U.S. and abroad, including The Kennedy Center and The White House. He has also toured extensively in Europe in productions of Porgy and Bess. 


Soles earned a bachelor of music in piano performance and graduated cum laude from Salem College and received a master of music degree in accompanying from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  She did post-graduate work at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and served as instructor/staff accompanist at Elon College.  She received law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She has served as organist/accompanist for many churches and vocal groups in the Kannapolis/Concord area. She lives in Kannapolis with her husband Tim and daughter Hannah.

Hamilton holds a master of music in vocal performance from The Boston Conservatory and a bachelor of music in vocal performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is also a member of Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society. He has studied voice under Mark Oswald of the Met and other well-known operatic instructors. He is the recipient of the Ron and Charlotte Payne award at The Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Charlotte and won first place in the Music Teachers National Association Award in Greensboro in 2003.  He also placed first in that competition in New York in 2007.


A professional tenor for 14 years, Hamilton has captivated audiences from Indonesia to Israel to Mississippi. He was most recently seen in the demanding role of The Male Chorus in “The Rape of Lucretia” with the Boston Conservatory Opera. He has had lead roles in various operas all around the U.S. Art songs and lieder are among his musical passions. An avid recitalist, he is equally at home in symphonic and concert repertoire, and has performed leading solos in numerous masterworks.


After years of study, professional performance and travel, Hamilton lives in the Kannapolis area with his wife Amy and their four children. He currently serves as minister of music at First Presbyterian Church of Kannapolis, choral director at AL Brown High School, and is sought after as a voice teacher and vocal coach.


For more information, contact him at davidhamilton@firstpresb.org .

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