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Vox Fortura ~ International Pop-OP Quartet
Friday, September 29, 2023 ~ 7:30 p.m.
Classical crossover takes on a new twist with Vox Fortura, the show-stopping classical vocal quartet from the United Kingdom who scored as semi-finalists on Britain’s Got Talent. They stormed the competition with a powerhouse display of vocal panache and sheer class and launched an extensive tour throughout the United States back in 2018. Portsmouth Community Concerts couldn’t resist bringing them to the Churchland stage in March 2019.
Founded in 2016, each member of Vox Fortura brings a diverse musical background from opera to musical theater, to gospel and R&B. Following successful world tours, they are delving deeper into the fusion of the classical and soul music, creating a show that speaks to the depth and power of black music through the timelessness of the classical genre.
Described by fans as “the next Il Divo,” Vox Fortura has brought classical vocals back into the mainstream. Filling every wow-factor performance with personality and style, their ability to perform almost any era or genre of music in their iconic crossover style touches on everything from composers Puccini and Carl Orff to David Bowie, John Legend, and Stevie Wonder. Their celebrity status never fails to broaden their already-huge fan following.
Friday, October 27, 2023 ~ 7:30 p.m.
The Chrysalis Chamber Players is a nonprofit chamber music ensemble, committed to performing a kaleidoscope of high caliber programs. The ensemble focuses on collaboration between musicians to bring innovative and exciting programs across the country. Launching its 12th season, one of its founders and international classical trumpet soloist Mary Elizabeth Bowden teams with the women of the Chrysalis Chamber Players to present a recital of works for solo trumpet and string quartet. The program includes a mix of new commissions, arrangements, and reimagined classics, including music by Beach, Debussy, De Falla, Haydn, and Stephenson. They have featured works in acclaimed performances ranging from Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos to the chamber music of living composers such as Eric Ewazen.
Mary Elizabeth Bowden/The Chrysalis Chamber Players ~
Classical String Quartet featuring Trumpet
A native of Illinois, Mary Elizabeth Bowden also performs with the award-winning Seraph Brass, the top female brass chamber music ensemble which was part of Portsmouth Community Concerts’ 2022-2023 season. She is a Gold Medal Global Music Award winner, Opus Klassik nominee, and Yamaha Performing Artist. Her residencies include the World and European Brass Association in Courances, France; Guadalajara and Cancun, Mexico. She has been a Guest Artist at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Connecticut and the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. She is married to trumpeter David Dash.
The Collingsworth Family ~ “A True Family Christmas”
Friday, December 8, 2023 ~ 7:30 PM
A Southern Gospel/Inspirational family known for staying together, praying together, and singing together will bring a certain degree of excitement, spiritual anointing, and musical excellence to the Churchland stage at Christmas. The group is The Collingsworth Family, headed by Phil and Kim Collingsworth whose ministry has expanded and flourished into a full-time livelihood. Their actual base of ministry began during their college days. Phil is a 1986 graduate of God’s Bible School & College in Cincinnati, where Oswald Chambers (“My Utmost for His Highest”) taught. Phil also completed professional trumpet studies at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, earning a Bachelor of Sacred Music degree with a double major in trumpet performance and music education. Kim attended Union Bible College in Westfield, Indiana, where she was instrumental in arranging much of the music performed by the college’s traveling music groups.
Phil and Kim have always maintained a public performance ministry and have held positions at numerous bible colleges around the country. In January 2000, they transitioned to a new, all-concert ministry and began recording professionally. They have four children, all of whom are actively involved in the ministry. Their two oldest daughters are quite proficient on the violin and perform at each of the family concerts. The entire family sings together in an ensemble. Kim is well-known for her phenomenal mastery of the piano while Phil performs trumpet solos.
In October 2019, The Collingsworth Family’s “A True Family Christmas” project was released, produced by Bradley Knight and StowTown Records. One month later, the project claimed the No. 1 spot on a Billboard weekly Holiday Album Sales chart. In April 2021, The Collingsworth Family signed a recording agreement with the Gaither Music Group in Nashville and joined the Gaither Gospel Hour’s internationally syndicated television shows. They have appeared on many of Gaither’s Homecoming Series live concert events and at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, and at their hometown studio in Alexandria, Indiana. Annual appearances include The Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn and The Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Their ministry is featured regularly on the gospel music-syndicated radio program, The Gospel Greats with Rodney aucom. Their music is regularly featured on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio’s Enlighten Channel 65, GMT (Gospel Music Television), The DayStar Television Network, INSP, and each year at Christmas in prime-time specials on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network).
The Suits ~ Male Pop Vocal Quartet
Friday, March 1, 2024 ~ 7:30 PM
Four gentlemen. Four genres. Four decades. That best describes The Suits, comprised of four dynamic male vocalists who take their audience on an incredible journey as they perform four genres of hit music from the 50s through the 80s. They celebrate the iconic hits of Motown, Doo Wop, Pop, and Rock as they fuse smooth choreography and tight harmonies together with a display of exciting showmanship and fun audience interaction. Their repertoire includes such hits as Oh, What a Night by The Four Seasons, My Girl by The Temptations, Can’t Buy Me Love by The Beatles, Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder, Uptown Girl by Billy Joel, and Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey.
Key of G Live! ~ Tribute to Garth Brooks
Friday, April 19, 2024 ~ 7:30 PM
AJ Bisto, born and raised in Minnesota, has been singing since he could talk. His first gig was at age 5 when he sang at his cousin’s wedding. By age 8, he was filling in on lead vocals for the house band at the local American Legion, singing through his high school years for several bands, and landing numerous lead roles in school musicals. At the age of 16, he started his own business performing at weddings and events.
In 2015, AJ and his wife, Josie, moved to Nashville where they were close to various local venues. Since then, AJ has opened for acts such as Jamie O’Neal, Ty Herndon, and Andy Griggs. The inspiration for Key of G Live! developed after AJ was recruited by a cruise line to perform as Garth Brooks for one of their variety shows. Due to his natural vocals having an uncanny resemblance to the sound of Garth Brooks, AJ was encouraged by numerous industry professionals to create a tribute show that would capture the signature sounds of the chart-topping country superstar in classic country music style.