The Spirituals Project Finds a New Home

Spirituals Project Inaugural concert soloists.jpg

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Arthur C. Jones                          M. Roger Holland, II

The Spirituals Project Finds a New Home

The Spirituals Project
has moved to the Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts where the award-winning organization has become part of the University of Denver’s nationally known music performance school, the Lamont School of Music.

In making the announcement last summer, DU Lamont Director Nancy Cochran commented, “We are delighted to have the Spirituals Project become a part of the Lamont School of Music. It will serve to increase our outreach into the community and enhance our ongoing initiatives to expand the horizons of our students and faculty.

Arthur C. Jones, founder of the Spirituals Project, joined the Lamont School of Music faculty in 2016 after serving as chair of the Spirituals Project board, as a clinical professor in the university’s Psychology Department for 18 years, and subsequently as a clinical professor and associate dean at DU’s Colorado Women’s College for seven years. “I am thrilled by this development which advances substantially the University of Denver’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and community engagement,” Jones said. “This also ensures the long-term sustainability of The Spirituals Project, which is one of Denver’s treasured cultural resources,” Dr. Jones has presented solo concerts, lectures and workshops on spirituals throughout the United States, and he is the author of the award-winning book, Wade in the Water: The Wisdom of the Spirituals, now in its third edition.

M. Roger Holland, II joined the Spirituals Project as the new director after a nationwide search and also joined the Lamont faculty.

Holland is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City where he received the master of divinity degree and served as Artist-in-Residence and director of the seminary Gospel Choir for more than 13 years. He received a master’s degree in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music and completed his undergraduate work at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey where he majored in music education with a concentration in piano and voice. While at Westminster he founded and conducted a student group called The Collegiate Ensemble with a repertoire that included gospel music and spirituals. He has toured nationally and internationally with The Boys Choir of Harlem and has worked with them as a conductor, pianist, instructor, arranger, and as former Director of Artistic Education for their school.

In 1998, The Spirituals Project was founded by Jones to preserve and revitalize the music and teachings of the sacred folk songs called “spirituals,” created and first sung by African Americans in slavery. The Spirituals Project is a past recipient of the Denver Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. The Project has presented a wide variety of high profile musical and educational programs over the years, including a national conference on spirituals in 2013 featuring poet Nikki Giovanni as keynote speaker, and a historic concert in 2009 at Denver’s Ellie Caulkins Opera House in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 80th birthday featuring the renowned mezzo soprano Denyce Graves as guest artist.

For more information, and a complete list of concerts, master classes and events, please visit the Lamont School of Music website.  For updated weekly information call the Concert Line at 303.871.6412.

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