First United Methodist Church host­ing spe­cial opera night this Sun­day

Con­cert the first in se­ries for FUMC

The Covington News - - NEWTON @ PLAY - By Rachel Oswald

Cov­ing­ton na­tive Florence Pea­cock and Mark What­ley will give a free opera con­cert Sun­day, Nov. 18, at First United Methodist Church of Cov­ing­ton.

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing Pea­cock’s so­prano and What­ley’s bari­tone will be church or­gan­ist Becky Ram­sey on the or­gan and her twin sis­ter Alice Walker on the pi­ano. A cel­list, vi­o­lin­ist and oboist will also pro­vide ac­com­pa­ni­ment

The con­cert, which be­gins at 3 p.m., is part of First United Methodist’s In­au­gu­ral Con­cert Se­ries for its newly ex­panded and re-built or­gan.

“This pro­gram that’s com­ing up with Mark and Florence is go­ing to be a de­light­ful af­ter­noon of mu­sic,” Ram­sey said. “They both have mag­nif­i­cent voices.”

A mem­ber of the Fowler fam­ily, Pea­cock re­ceived her mas­ter’s de­gree in mu­sic from Yale Univer­sity and is a pro­fes- sional so­prano singer and voice in­struc­tor. She has per­formed in Tokyo, In­done­sia and toured fre­quently through­out the U.S.

She has served as Pres­i­dent of the Chapel Hill Mu­sic Teacher’s As­so­ci­a­tion and on the Board of Direc­tors of the North Carolina Sym­phony and the Opera Com­pany of North Carolina and on the Na­tional Board of Direc­tors of Early Mu­sic Amer­ica. For the past 25 years she has been a soloist at Ober­lin Col­lege’s Baroque Per­for­mance In­sti­tute.

The son of First United Methodist’s min­is­ter, Mark What­ley also has con­nec­tions to Cov­ing­ton. What­ley, who is cur­rently work­ing on his Doc­tor of Mu­si­cal Arts at Rice Univer­sity in Hous­ton, Texas, has been singing pro­fes­sion­ally since com­plet­ing his mas­ter’s de­gree in 2000.

He has sung with many re­gional opera com­pa­nies in ad­di­tion to per­form­ing in opera houses in Italy. In 2002 he was the first place win­ner of the Metropoli­tan Opera Na­tional Coun­cil Au­di­tions.

Next Sun­day’s con­cert will in­clude per­for­mances from a var­ied group of com­posers.

What­ley said the con­cert will be­gin with one of Bach’s fa­mous can­tatas and end with a duet from the award-win­ning Broad­way play “The Phan­tom of the Opera.”

In ad­di­tion, What­ley said he will per­form a set of Ital- ian songs, first pop­u­lar­ized to the world by the late Lu­ciano Pavarotti.

A nurs­ery will be pro­vided at Sun­day’s con­cert and a re­cep­tion in the church Fel­low­ship Hall will fol­low the per­for­mance.

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