One can argue there are few things as quintessential to the Purchase College experience as the Purchase Soul Voices—a premier 60-student vocal ensemble that explores music genres such as spirituals, gospel, soul, rhythm and blues, funk, and jazz.
The brainchild of Director of Jazz Studies Pete Malinverni, Soul Voices is open to all students and draws participants from every corner of the Purchase community. Malinverni explains, “Soul Voices is a group as diverse as Purchase College itself, with singers taken from all backgrounds and majors, brought together with one mission—to explore and celebrate the music of the African-American experience.”
Malinverni, who’s been teaching in the Conservatory of Music since 2000, served for eighteen years as Minister of Music at the predominantly African-American Devoe Street Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY. In his work in the Jazz Studies program here, he sensed that he was only seeing a part of the great talent pool on campus. So, seven years ago he put out the word and Soul Voices was born.
“There is something very real about Soul Voices; something very real about 60 people giving of themselves to create a force bigger than the individual,” describes Sean McVerry, a member of the group and a senior in the studio composition program.
He remembers a transcending moment last spring when then-senior Kameron Smith sang his last solo, John Legend’s “If You’re Out There.” In a dead silent recital hall, Smith became choked up and the choir, trying to retain its composure, sang quietly with him through the end of the song. “It was one of the most powerful moments I have ever had in my entire musical career,” McVerry recalls.
Soul Voices will perform on Tuesday, December 4 at 7 pm in the Recital Hall of the Music Building. Performance is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.
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