The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Everett McCorvey, the educator, performer and impresario who built the University of Kentucky’s voice program into one of the top opera programs in the country, is interviewing for the post of dean of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
According to an itinerary available online, McCorvey arrived in Greensboro on Tuesday morning for a day and a half of interviews at the public university, which has approximately 18,000 students. He is one of three finalists for the post, including Peter Alexander, recently retired dean of the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University, and Sara Baird, chair of the department of music at Auburn University.
In his letter of application, McCorvey says, “I am very impressed with what the School of Music, Theatre and Dance has to offer. … I see tremendous potential for growth, collaboration and achieving new heights.”
Michael Tick, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts, declined to be interviewed for this story because it’s a personnel matter. He said McCorvey is currently on sabbatical.
“I hope that UK doesn’t let Everett get away,” said Marlon Hurst, director of the Kentucky Bach Choir and director of music at First Presbyterian Church, where McCorvey has been active, including serving as interim and substitute music director. “It would be an astonishingly huge loss to the artistic life of our community.”
Since arriving at the University of Kentucky from Knoxville College in 1991, McCorvey has built the college’s opera program into a nationally recognized opera program and Lexington’s de facto opera company. This academic year, the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre staged a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera that broke attendance records at the Lexington Opera House. It will open its production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro next week.
Under McCorvey’s watch, the UK voice program was named to a list of 20 recommended opera training programs in the United States by the Richard Tucker Foundation and has launched the careers of professional opera singers including Gregory Turay, Phumzile Sojola, Andrea Jones Sojola, Patricia Andress, Corey Crider and Reshma Shetty, who also is in the cast of USA’s Royal Pains.
In addition to making UK opera productions into major Lexington arts events, McCorvey established the It’s a Grand Night for Singing show-tune concerts as annual red-letter dates on the arts calendar. He also founded the Lexington-based American Spiritual Ensemble, which tours internationally presenting spiritual songs, and was executive producer of the opening ceremonies of the Alltech-FEI World Equestrian Games. McCorvey’s close relationship with Alltech founder Pearse Lyons has resulted in the Alltech Scholarships, one of the most attractive voice scholarships in the country.
According to the UNC-Greensboro website, McCorvey is the last candidate to interview for the job.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich