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St. Bonaventure University

Baritone Kenneth Overton to perform spirituals for opening of Friends concert season at St. Bonaventure

Sep 10, 2021

Overton and Thompson for webInternationally acclaimed baritone Kenneth Overton, together with pianist Gregory Thompson, will open the 2021-2022 Friends of Good Music performance season at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts with an evening of spirituals.
The concert, titled “Been in De Storm so Long,” is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, in the Quick Center’s Rigas Theater.
After a long hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olean-based Friends group returns with its 40th anniversary performance season, its 17th in partnership with the Quick Center.
“Kenneth Overton’s glorious baritone voice has sent him around the globe, making him one of the most sought-after opera singers of his generation,” said Ludwig Brunner, executive director of the Quick Center. “There is no better way to reopen our performance season than with a moving and jubilant evening of spirituals performed by a rising star.”
The evening’s program represents a spiritual journey from the cotton fields to the concert hall, said Brunner. Overton will perform spirituals rooted in African-American traditions including “Deep River,” “Ride on King Jesus,” “I Got to Lie Down” and many others. 
Overton won a 2020 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for his title role in Richard Danielpour’s “The Passion of Yeshua,” with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by JoAnn Falletta.
His interpretation of the title role in “Porgy and Bess” has been proclaimed as “breathtaking.” He has performed the role more than 100 times at international houses such as the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Palacio Bellas Artes in Mexico City, L’Opera Montreal, The Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen and in the critically acclaimed production from South Africa’s Cape Town Opera.
His upcoming engagements include his Metropolitan Opera debut this fall, in the role of Lawyer Frazier in “Porgy and Bess;” a reprisal of the role of Ralph Abernathy in “I Dream” with Opera Carolina and Charlottesville Opera; and as Germont in “La Traviata” for Fort Worth Opera. He will also appear with the National Philharmonic as a soloist in Mozart’s “Requiem” as well as in Brahms’ “Requiem” with South Dakota Symphony, and he will debut Damien Geter’s “An African American Requiem” with the Oregon Symphony.
Pianist Thompson is known for his work as a solo and collaborative artist in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Of his Carnegie Hall debut, the New York Times praised his “intuitive playing” and his ability to “make a melodic line sing and inflect it with delicate rubato effects.” 
His international performance credits include concerts at Marble Hall, Salzburg; The Atelier Concert Series, Paris; and at the Teatro Signorelli, Italy. In the U.S., he has played at New York’s Weill and Zankel halls, as well as Steinway galleries in North Carolina and Georgia. Artists with whom he has collaborated include singers Grace Bumbry, Allan Glassman and Russell Thomas, as well as woodwind faculty members of Austria’s Mozarteum. He has also performed concertos with the Baltimore Symphony, South Carolina Philharmonic and Charlotte Philharmonic orchestras.
Given the fluid nature of COVID-19 protocols, please check SBU’s COVID-19 website for the university’s latest policy for campus visitors, including ticketholders for Quick Center performances, or call the Quick Center at (716) 375-2494.
Subscriptions for the Friends of Good Music performance season are available. A basic subscription (any six concerts) is $102 at full price, $84 for senior citizens and St. Bonaventure employees, and $27 for students. A full season subscription (seven concerts) is $112 at full price, $92 for senior citizens and SBU employees, and $30 for students.
Single ticket prices are $20 at full price, 16 for senior citizens and SBU employees, and $5 for students.
For tickets and information, call The Quick Center at (716) 375-2494.
For each Friends of Good Music performance, The Quick Center will open its galleries one hour before the performance and keep them open throughout the intermission. Regular gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 
Museum admission is free and open to the public year round. For more information, visit  
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.