Christina DeVaughn, soprano
Boston native Christina DeVaughn received her master’s degree in Opera Performance from the Boston Conservatory, where she was the recipient of the Boston Conservatory Music Division Scholarship. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Massachusetts in Boston, where she received the Benjamin S. Carson Scholarship Award and the Joan C. Higgins Prize in the Arts. She has been a soloist for Gospel Night at the Boston Pops and has worked with the Chautauqua Opera, the Orchestra of Indian Hill, Boston Lyric Opera, the Cambridge Lieder and Opera Company, and the Cantata Singers. A finalist in the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. DeVaughn placed third in the Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition, and took first place in the New England NATS competition, where she also received the prize for the Best American Song. She is the proud mother of a miraculous daughter, Kyrieh.
Joei Marshall Perry, soprano
Joei Marshall Perry has appeared as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Cantata no. 4: Christ lag in Todesbanden and has had notable solo engagements with the Worcester Chorus, the Providence Singers, the Canton Choral Society, the Cambridge Community Chorus, the Boston Classical Orchestra and Vox Consort. Recently, Ms. Perry performed a recital at the invitation of the Worcester Music Guild. Also, she is a member of the Opera Boston Chorus, the Opera Boston Outreach Ensemble and the all-professional choir at historic King’s Chapel in downtown Boston, and regularly performs with American Classics, a musical theater company based in Cambridge, MA. Ms. Perry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Harvard College and received her Master of Music in Opera Performance at Longy School of Music.
Cynthia Harmon, alto
A native of Philadelphia, Cynthia Harmon moved to Boston to pursue a Master of Music degree in vocal performance at New England Conservatory of Music. Additionally, she earned a Graduate Diploma in Opera from Longy School of Music located in Cambridge, MA. For twelve years, Ms. Harmon was a choir section leader and soloist at Saint Paul’s Church in Wellesley. She has performed with New England Spiritual Ensemble since 1995 and treasures the opportunity to share this body of music with audiences throughout the country. Ms. Harmon has been heard with several local symphonies in opera and oratorio. Most recently, she has performed private recitals to support worthy causes that focus on educational opportunities for children. She is the Assistant Head of School at The Park School in Brookline, MA.
Myran Parker-Brass, alto
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Ms. Parker-Brass is co-founder of the New England Spiritual Ensemble. Moving comfortably between classical, jazz and gospel genres her professional career has included concerts across the U.S., Europe and South America. Ms. Parker-Brass has appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra and her jazz performances earned her the “Outstanding Jazz Vocalist” award at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival. Ms. Parker-Brass is the Executive Director for the Arts, Boston Public Schools, and on any given Sunday can be found directing the choir at Myrtle Baptist Church. She is married to Kenneth Brass and they are the parents of Kristen Brass.
Orlando Lightfoot, tenor
Orlando Lightfoot has been enthralled with the Negro Spiritual since hearing Paul Robeson in concert when he was a young child in Chicago at the Canaan Baptist Church. Since then he has had the good fortune to work with, and learn from, many wonderful directors and singers particularly in the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the John Work Chorale, and the Myrtle Baptist Church Spiritual Singers. The same sentiment exists for the New England Spiritual Ensemble. When not performing with the Ensemble, Dr. Lightfoot is married, the father of 5 children in a blended family, a tennis hacker, and Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine.
Davron S. Monroe, tenor
Davron S. Monroe holds a Master of Music in Opera Performance from the Longy School of Music and performs throughout New England as a soloist and vocal consultant. He has been featured with The Key West Symphony, Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Brevard Music Center, Connecticut Opera, Opera Providence, The Longy School Orchestra, New England Voices, Vox Consort, and many other organizations in the greater Boston area. Full opera productions include Carmen, Treemonisha, Mozart’s Impresario and La Finta Giardiniera, Cabildo, Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Fille du Regiment, L’elisir d’amore, Cosi fan Tutte, Die Zauberflute, and The Tailor of Gloucester. In music theatre, Mr. Monroe was recently featured in Key West Symphony’s “Broadway Bound: Musicals Across Paradise” premiere of Songs for a New World. Other major performances of note include the roles of “Judas” in Jesus Christ Superstar, “James ‘Thunder’ Early” in Dreamgirls and “Cain “in Children of Eden; jazz cabarets The All Night Strut and Smokey Joe’s Cafe; and roles in Cinderella, Sweet Charity, Show Boat and Ain’t Misbehavin‘.
David C. Howse, baritone
David C. Howse, native of Murfreesboro, TN, is a multifaceted artist skilled as a solo performer, innovative teacher and arts administrator. He has been a featured soloist in venues including Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall, the French Library and Cultural Center, the Main Stage at Roxbury Community College, The Brevard Music Center in North Carolina and the Humbach Theaterhof in Germany. In addition to his private studio, he has served on the teaching faculties at the University of New Hampshire and the Franklin School for the Performing Arts. Mr. Howse currently serves as the Executive Director of the Boston Children’s Chorus. He holds degrees from Bradley University and New England Conservatory of Music and has completed leadership programs at the Harvard Business School, Boston University and UMass Boston. Mr. Howse is married to Charisse Claxton Howse and they are the parents of two young boys, Kennedy and Channing.
Milton Wright, bass
Milton Wright has been a member of the ensemble for eleven years. He studied with Donna Roll of the Longy School of Music. He has appeared in several Revels productions, most notably as Frederick Douglass in There’s A Meeting Here Tonight and for the past twenty years he has appeared in the National Center of Afro-American Artists production of Langston Hughes Black Nativity. He has been the musical director of Black Nativity for two years. He is also a songwriter/composer/playwright currently hard at work on his first full-length musical. Now serving the public as a member of the City of Boston’s Licensing Board, The Hon. Milton L. Wright is a retired Associate Justice of the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court.
Daniel Perry, bass
Dan Perry, bass-baritone, is currently a member of the professional ensemble at King’s Chapel in Boston. He is a former member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and participated in the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2001 European tour. He has also appeared on stage with Opera Boston multiple times as a member of the ensemble, including productions of Nixon In China, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and Der Freischütz. Musical theater credits include the American Classics revival of Irving Berlin’s Yip! Yip! Yahank! Mr. Perry has also arranged and performed backup vocals for the critically-acclaimed indie rock group The Mountain Goats and can be heard on their 2011 album All Eternals Deck.