Chattanooga Spiritual Quartet Has Reunion Concert

Saturday, June 30, 2018 - by Basil Considine

The Chattanooga Spiritual Quartet, a vocal ensemble founded 20 years ago by students of the legendary conductor Roland Carter, reunites this evening (Saturday) for a special concert at Christ Episcopal Church. The ensemble will perform a program of spiritual songs – Carter’s specialty – in a cappella, solo, tuba, and quartet arrangements.

CSQ founder Neshawn Calloway, a mezzo-soprano, first moved to Chattanooga in 1994 to study for a Masters in Music Education at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Roland Carter, one of the nation’s most respected scholar-performers of African American spirituals, was then

the university’s Ruth S. Holmberg Professor of American Music in the Department of Music (he retired in 2013). Inspired by Carter’s teachings, Calloway decided to form the vocal quartet with three others who had studied under his tutelage: soprano Nel Reid, tenor Harv Wileman, and bass LaFrederick Thirkill.

Tonight’s concert marks the Chattanooga Spiritual Quartet’s first concert together since the members’ careers took them separate ways in 2000. Today, Nel Reid is a staff worship leader at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church, and has had a long career as part of the Chattanooga Public Library system. Neshawn Calloway is head of the Vocal Department at the Chattanooga High Center for the Creative Arts, an in-demand performer of the blues and jazz, and a busy recording artist. Harv Wileman is the Artistic Director of Voci Virili Men’s Consort and the Voice of Reason Women’s Ensemble, and runs the Wileman Artists artist management company. LaFrederick Thirkill is the Principal of Orchard Knob Elementary School, as well as a renowned speaker, playwright, and historian. Roland Carter joins the group on piano.

The concert program is organized into seven thematic groupings: help from above, warning, faith, in code, passion, the power of Jesus, and going to heaven. It includes classic spirituals such as "Go Down, Moses" and "Ride On, King Jesus" and powerful songs such as "My Lord, What a Mournin’" and "Calvary."

Tickets are $15 at the door, $10 for students.


Tonight, June 30 – 7 p.m.

Christ Episcopal Church - 663 Douglas Street, Chattanooga, TN

$15 at the door/$10 students

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