Arts Performing Arts

American Spiritual Ensemble Highlights Black Experience

Dr. Everett McCorvey

Wortham Center for the Performing Arts presents American Spiritual Ensemble (ASE) in concert in Diana Wortham Theatre Tuesday, January 25, at 7:30 p.m. The critically acclaimed group of more than a dozen of the finest singers in the classical world has thrilled audiences around the globe with a dynamic and soul-stirring repertoire that highlights the Black experience.

“The American Spiritual Ensemble began as a dream I had of preserving the music of the American Negro slaves,” says group founder and tenor Dr. Everett McCorvey. “ASE’s mission is to keep the American Negro spiritual alive.”

American Spiritual Ensemble. Photos by Henry Huhtulag Photography

Since 1995, ASE has maintained and honored the music pioneered by enslaved African people. Performing provocative, dynamic concerts, the group’s live performances combine the singers’ talents with those of an accompanist and an African drummer. Their music ranges from spirituals to jazz, dance and Broadway numbers.

“Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, during the Civil Rights Movement, I had the opportunity to witness first-hand music’s powerful storytelling: to comfort people, to change lives and to spur a movement,” says McCorvey. “To that end, we travel nationally and internationally celebrating the music of the American Negro slave as well as the many forms that this music has taken since its creation.”

ASE’s vocalists and soloists have individually performed in venues including Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Boston Opera and the Atlanta Civic Opera, as well as abroad in England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Scotland and Spain.

Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue, in Asheville. Tickets to American Spiritual Ensemble’s performance are $20–$42. Learn more or purchase tickets at or by contacting the box office at 828.257.4530.

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