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Walking Through The Valley

This professionally recorded album features choral works by Black composers that have rarely or never been recorded. This project was funded by the 2022 Presser Foundation Graduate Music Award and was recorded at Temple University in the Summer of 2022.

Featured below are the composers and singers that make up this project. 

Note: Composer and Singer information is only viewable on the desktop version of this site.

Conductor's Statement: 

It is clear that I do not physically represent the stories being told through this recording project. I am striving to responsibly celebrate, elevate, and intentionally create space for the music of historically and systemically disenfranchised musicians. It is the duty and responsibility of those with majority identities in positions of power to focus their energy on changing our systems and our society to allow everyone to experience the privilege we possess. 

Meet the Composers


Harry T. Burleigh


Henry Thacker Burleigh was instrumental in the creation and proliferation of what would become the American classical sound. His relationship with Antonin Dvorak influenced many of Dvorak's works, and led him to declare Black music as the future of American classical music. 

We recorded his pieces 

O Southland (1919) and 

Southern Lullaby (1920). 


Adolphus Hailstork

(b. 1941)

Dr. Hailstork is a prolific American composer with works for chorus, solo voice, piano, organ, chamber ensembles, band, orchestra, and opera. 

We will be singing the 3rd of his Three Dunbar Hymns, Little Lamb (2009). 

Margaret Bonds


Margaret Allison Bonds, a tremendously talented composer, pianist, arranger, and teacher is enjoying a renaissance in the performance and recording of her music. 

We will be singing the latter half of her 

Credo, Movements V-VII (1965). 


Marques L. A. Garrett

(b. 1984)

Dr. Garrett is an Assistant Professor of Music in Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Glenn Korff Schol of Music. He is frequently featured as a composer and scholar, and is the creator of the database of Non-Idiomatic Choral Music of Black Composers in the next pane. 

We will be singing his We Shall Walk Through the Valley (2021). 

Meet the Ensemble





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Amanda Sheriff

Delaware based soprano, Amanda Sheriff, winner of the First Prize in the 2022 Lotte Lenya Competition, recently sang with Opera Delaware as Norina (Don Pasquale) and Monica (The Medium) with Baltimore Concert Opera. This summer, Amanda will perform concerted works with various companies, such as Penn Square Music Festival and Wilmington concert opera. 


 In 2021, Amanda was an Apprentice Artist at Des Moines Metro Opera where she performed Miss Lightfoot (Fellow Travelers) and covered Clarine and L’amour (Platée). Amanda was also a Studio Artist at Florida Grand Opera and performed the roles Beatrice (Three Decembers), 1st Trio member (Trouble in Tahiti), and Célie (Signor Deluso) and Babs (New York Stories). 


During 2019, Amanda sang Pamina (Die Zauberflöte ) and Little Red (Little Red’s Most Unusual Day) with Opera Iowa and participated in DMMO’s virtual season due to COVID. 


In 2019, She was an Emerging Artist at the Seagle Festival and sang Susanna in (Le Nozze di Figaro)

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Farah Kidwai

Pakistani-American vocalist and voiceover actor Farah Kidwai is an accomplished and in-demand artist. After earning her MM in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College, she relocated to Los Angeles, joining the voice faculty at both the Pasadena Conservatory and Coast Conservatory of Music. She sang, performed, and recorded with the GRAMMY-award winning Los Angeles Master Chorale, under the direction of Grant Gershon, for eight seasons. As a SAG-AFTRA session singer, she has lent her rich, flexible mezzo-soprano voice to numerous film, TV, and video game soundtracks. Recent voiceover projects include a virtual reality museum tour and a series of Covid 19 PSAs for the Pakistan World Health Organization. Farah lives in Columbia, MD with her husband, two boys, and their dear cat Rosie.

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Kethrellan Peterson

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Malcolm Richardson

Malcolm S. Richardson is a Doctoral Candidate of the Liberty University, School of Music. While attending Liberty, Malcolm simultaneously serves as Performing Arts Director of Music Theater and Vocal Pedagogy at the School District of Philadelphia, Collaborating Teaching Artist with The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts; facilitating music programs at William D Kelley
School, and Scholar at the Choir School of Delaware, where he sings amongst and mentors young vocalists through a shared gift of song. Upon completion of his Degree, Malcolm plans to continue supporting the next generation of young collegiate vocalists, to strengthen their love for the stage.

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Megan McFadden

Megan McFadden is a Mezzo Contralto based in Philadelphia, PA. She sings with the Opera Philadelphia Chorus and the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir. Recent concerts include Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Verizon Hall. Ms. McFadden has degrees in Music Education and Music Therapy from Mansfield University and a Master's of Vocal Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music. When she's not singing, she loves baking and being a stay at home mom.


Nyah Charles

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Leon DeShields

Leon DeShields is a Tenor/Counter-tenor and a Graduating Senior at the University of Delaware.
He is receiving his Bachelor of Music in Applied Music: Voice Performance, and pursuing a MM in Choral Conducting. He is known for being a traveling performing artist in considerable different capacities within the United States. Some of his previous successes include performances in the Honor Choir of the USA, local Mass Churches, the University of Delaware
Opera Theater, local Community Theaters in Delaware, the Musiktheater Bavaria, and Cambridge University. Leon aspires to become a Professional Music Coach/Choral Director and share the one common dialogue of this world, music.

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Daniel Neer

Daniel Neer's engagements as a singer/actor have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Royal Opera House Covent Garden (ROH II), New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, American Repertory Theater, Experiments in Opera, American Opera Projects, Center for Contemporary Opera, and the Apollo. As a recitalist and concert performer, he has been featured with Rebel Baroque Orchestra, Metropolis Ensemble, The Phoenix Concerts, Lotte Lehman Foundation, Miller Theatre Composer Portraits, Guggenheim Museum Works & Process, New York Composers Circle, Morgan Library, and Chicago Art Institute. His Broadway credits include Baz Luhrmann's La Bohéme and Coram Boy, directed by Melly Still. Daniel studied music and theater at The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and The Royal Academy of Music in London, England.


Harmony McCord

Harmony McCord Is a sophomore double major at Rowan University in Vocal Music ed and Vocal Performance. This is their first recording project, but don’t let that fool you! They have had the privilege of singing on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in the Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjello choral series. Locally, you may see them performing with the Marian Anderson Choral Arts Scholars or the Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia. Harmony is very excited to be a part of this project and make music with these amazing musicians. 

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D'quan Tyson

D’quan Tyson is a freelance performing and teaching artist hailing from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. In 2016, he graduated with his BM; Vocal Performance degree from Ithaca College and has actively been performing as a section leader in the Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia and Old Pine Presbyterian Church. Recently, he has become a roster singer with the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir and joined chorus members at Opera Philadelphia in their productions of Verdi's Requiem and Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex. Through the Sounds of Learning Residency program, D’quan has had the opportunity to go into classrooms engaging students in the multi-dimensional art form that is opera! In September of 2022, he will begin his graduate studies in Arts Administration at Drexel University.

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Erik Potteiger

Erik Potteiger is a professional singer, percussionist, pianist, composer and educator currently based in Philadelphia, PA. He received his bachelor’s of music in choral music education and vocal performance from the University of South Carolina. Erik has performed
in solo and ensemble settings with professional choral ensembles and chamber music ensembles across a multitude of cities and states in the US, as well as eight countries across three continents. Away from his performing engagements he enjoys video/audio editing,
producing, recording, as well as creating online music content and practice tracks for clients.

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Tim Hurtt

Tim Hurtt is a junior at Rowan University and has performed roles including Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus and King Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Tim has also performed arias from scenes in The Barber of Seville, Porgy and Bess, and Albert Herring. At Rowan, he's performed in the Concert Choir as Bass II section leader and the chamber ensemble Voces. Tim has won first place at the New Jersey National Association of Teachers of Singing twice as a collegiate singer. He's also won first place in the 2022 Eastern Regional Hall Johnson Spirituals Competition. Tim is a proud mentee in the Utopia Arts Society. He studies voice with Dr. Lourin Plant.

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