Biographical Information

Composer Julius Williams

Julius P. Williams, composer of "A Journey to Freedom, Honor and Glory: An American Hero, Jonathan Daniels" has built a substantial reputation as both a conductor and composer. He has been Music Director of the Washington Symphony Orchestra for the last three years.

As a conductor Maestro Williams has appeared with the symphonies of Dallas, New Haven, Savannah, Hartford, Sacramento, Tulsa, Knoxville, Oklahoma, Vermont Symphony, Norwalk Symphony, Vermont Philharmonic, and the Wooster (OH) Symphony, as well as the Amor Artist Chamber Orchestra and the Connecticut Opera Association. In 1999 Maestro Williams was selected to open the 20th anniversary of the Tri-C Jazzfest in Cleveland, conducting a powerful performance of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Service. He also served on the Artistic Advisory Committee of the Queens Symphony Orchestra in New York.

Mr. Williams was formerly Artistic Director of the School of Choral Studies of the New York State Summer School of the Arts, which was the educational arm of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York. He has been Artistic Director of the Festival of the Costa del Sol in Spain, Conductor-Composer of the Connecticut Arts Award on Public Television and Composer in Residence of Connecticut’s Nutmeg Ballet Company, which premiered his Ballet Cinderella. He has served as Assistant Conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the American Symphony, both under Lukas Foss, and also as educational consultant to the Norwalk Symphony.

Maestro Williams made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut in the inaugural concerts of Symphony Saint Paulia. Internationally he has appeared with the Volvodanska Symphony in Serbia and the Dubrovnik Symphony in Croatia. He has also appeared in Spain with the Julius Williams Singers and the Esterwood Symphony as well as a guest conductor in concerts in Prague and Vienna with the Brno State Philharmonic and most recently with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in the Czech Republic.

Mr. Williams’ first CD of African-American symphonic music was released to critical acclaim by Albany Record in 1994 entitled Symphonic Brotherhood--a compact disc with Maestro Williams conducting the Bohuslav-Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra. He currently has a new recording, Shades of Blue, with the Prague Radio Symphony and the Washington Symphony released on the Albany Record label.

A prolific composer, Julius Williams has penned operas, works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, dance, chorus, voice and musical theater, and film. His Norman Overture was premiered by the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. The Cleveland Orchestra under Jahja Ling performed his composition, Meditation. The opera, Guenevere, has been performed at the Aspen Music Festival, as well as in concert version at the Dubrovnik Music Festival in Croatia. His most recent film score is entitled "What Color is Love." He has written many scores for the musical theater, including his latest score for the production of In dahomey, which premiered at the Henry Street settlement playhouse in July 1999. As a writer, Mr. Williams recently had a wonderful article on Duke Ellington published in the March 1999 issue of Emerge magazine.

Maestro Williams is a native of New York and was educated at the Hartt School of Music, Lehman College of the City of New York, and the Aspen Music School. Mr. Williams is an equally gifted educator. He was Visiting Associate Professor and Jessie Ball DuPont Scholar at Shenandoah University and Conservatory in Virginia in 1993. He has also held faculty positions at Wesleyan University, University of Hartford, and the University of Vermont. In 1996 he served as visiting Conductor of Orchestra at Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY, and Affiliate Artist-Teacher of Composition at Purchase College of the State University of New York. Mr. Williams, presently Professor of Composition and Conducting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, is a co-director of Videmus Recording.

A recipient of numerous honors, Mr. Williams has been awarded the Distinguished Medal of Artistic achievement from the Ecuador Youth Symphony Orchestra Foundation 2000, the Honorary Distinguished Alumnus Award from Langston University in Oklahoma, and the national Culture of the Arts Award by the Association of Foreign Language Teachers in New York. He has received ASCAP awards in composition for the last twenty years. In 1997 he received a Proclamation from the city of Gadsden, Alabama for the Concerto written for its Sesquicentennial and most recently received a similar award from Ellington, Connecticut. He has received the Key to the city of Dallas for his successful conducting debut.

Mr. Williams frequently serves as a lecturer, clinician, panelist and speaker at many national music conferences. He is on the Advisory Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and has served as an on-site reporter for the (Opera/Musical Theatre) Program. He also has served as an adjudicator for the Music Assistance Fund with the American Symphony Orchestra League. His profile has been featured nationally on CBS Sunday Morning. A Kawai America Artist, Julius Williams uses the Kawai Piano exclusively.

Host Rawn Spearman

Rawn Spearman has had a varied and distinguished career on the concert stage, Broadway, and in television. He is a graduate of Florida A&M University, Tallahassee and Columbia University Teachers College, New York City. Dr. Spearman is a former member of the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers (1946-1947). His professional preparation included serious study at the American Theatre Wing in New York City (1947-1052); lieder with Otto Hertz; French repertoire with Eva Gautier; early renaissance and baroque music with Yves Tinayre; general coaching and musicianship with Charles Kingsford, Alice Whiteman, and William Sourwine; oratory with Edward Boatner; and art songs of African American composers with Kelly Wyatt.

Dr. Spearman was a recipient of the Marian Anderson Award, the Roland Hayes Award, the American Theatre Wing Award, Jon Hay Whitney Award, the JUGG Award, and the Ville de Fountainbleau Award. The latter brought with it an opportunity to study French art songs with Nadia Boulanger (summer, 1952). His auspicious debuts at Times Hall and Town Hall led to the signing with impresario Sol Hurok, whereupon he began concert tours throughout the world under Hurok’s direction, later appearing in productions on Broadway including "Let’s Make an Opera," "House of Flowers," "Kwamina," "Four Saints in Three Acts," and "Nude with Violin." His TV experience includes "Bloomer Girl," "Blue Monday Blues," "Frontiers of Faith," and other television and radio shows.

The Boston Symphony Youth Concerts, Harry Ellis Dickson ((check spelling)), Artistic Director, marked Rawn Spearman’s debut at Symphony Hall in 1981. He was featured as Baritone Soloist with Mixed Chorus and Orchestra in the cantata Ballad for Americans by Earl Robinson, and under Walter Eisenberg conducting the Nashua Symphony Orchestra, he sang performances of Aaron Copland’s "Old American Songs" and Gershwin’s "Porgy and Bess."

Entering the field of urban education, Rawn Spearman was for a number of years Supervisor of Cultural Affairs for HARYOU-ACT, an anti-poverty program in Central Harlem, NYC. He later accepted a position on the faculty of Hunter College, NYC, and became coordinator of the Hunter College-Harlem Education Center, a field-based center designed to offer better exposure and understanding of urban educational experiences for both faculty and students. As Professor Emeritus, having just recently retired from the College of Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Dr. Spearman continues to combine his career as past Coordinator of Music Business with that of professional singer. Aside from his busy schedule, Dr. Spearman performs faculty and community concerts throughout the New England area through sponsorship and grants by the New Hampshire Humanities Council. For many years he sang major concerts designed around solo cantatas and the song cycles of Schubert, Schumann, Kestler, Bonds, and Raphling. He also conducted and continues to adjudicate choruses in the New Hampshire are.

Past seasons have not been without their rewards. He sang a recital of songs set to the poems of Langston Hughes and also appeared as soloist with the Boston Orchestra Chorale at Jordan Hall. At MENC, CMS, and CBMR conventions Dr. Spearman was presented in lecture-demonstrations on "The Black Art Song: An Interdisciplinary Encounter;" "Music Criticism of Nora Holt, 1917-1923 and 1944-1952;" and "Poems by Langston Hughes, Set to Music by Black Composers."

The New Hampshire Humanities Council recently awarded a $7,020 grant (1993) for the "Dream Keepers" to perform a series of music and poetry concerts that celebrate the life and work of Langston Hughes, who was much influenced by the blues and jazz of his time. As Professor Emeritus, Dr. Spearman says he is finding new pleasure in his retirement doing vocal concerts, adjudicating, reading papers, continuing his research, and as a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, teaching a few serious voice students, and finding the time to compose articles and publish two books. Dr. Spearman was appointed by NH Governor Stephen Merrill as a council member to the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts (1993).

Conductor Carroll Lehman

Dr. Carroll Lehman is in his 16th year as Musical Director and Conductor of the Monadnock Chorus.  Dr. Lehman is well known in New England as conductor, adjudicator, clinician, voice teacher and bass soloist.  He has become known for his sensitive and inspiring interpretation of the major choral works with orchestra.

He has led members of the Monadnock Chorus on successful tours to Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Greece, performing in many of the major cathedrals, including  High Mass in St. Peter's in Rome and for the Pope at his weekly Vatican broadcast. In 1992, Dr. Lehman was invited to conduct the New Hampshire Friendship Chorus on tours to Russia, Latvia and Estonia, and in 1998 to South Africa.  In 1998 the Monadnock Chorus was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York. 

Dr. Lehman is Professor of Music at Keene State College where he conducts the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers.  He founded and conducts the KSC Oratorio Society.
Dr. Lehman received both the Master's and Doctor's degree from the University of Iowa where he studied conducting with Daniel Moe and James Dixon.   He has also studied conducting in workshops with Robert Shaw, Elmer Isler, Robert DeCormier and most recently at the Oregon Bach Festival with Helmuth Rilling.  In the summer of 1996 he was one of 17 conductors nationwide that were chosen to conduct the Bach Festival chorus, orchestra and soloists in public performances of the Christmas Oratorio.  (Courtesy of Monadnock Chorus)

Soloist Maria Ferrante

"Maria Ferrante broke my heart Sunday night, "wrote Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe of Ms. Ferrante’s performance of Madama Butterfly. Maria Ferrante has performed numerous roles in various capacities to overwhelming critical acclaim.

One of Franco Corelli’s few students, and winner of the Mario Lanza Voice Competition, Ms. Ferrante has performed more than 15 leading operatic roles, including Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme, Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, Cio-Cio-San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.
Equally at home on the concert stage, she has sung the leading soprano roles in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah, among many other major choral works. In recital, she has appeared with pianists Gilbert Kalish and Lincoln Mayorga, with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, with violinist Arnold Steinhardt of the Guarneri Quartet, and with Robert J. Lurtsema of WGBH, as well as many others. Composers Sheldon Harnick (who wrote Fiddler on the Roof), Arnold Black, Seymour Barab and Joseph Summers have collaborated in performance with her.

Recent performances include Respighi’s Il Tramonto with the New England String Ensemble, an appearance in New York City with guitar virtuoso Benjamin Verdery, and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 with both the Boston Ballet and in Symphony Space in New York City. She has made numerous orchestral appearances throughout the country.

Upcoming engagements include performance with The Enid Symphony, Oklahoma, appearances with the Mohawk Trail Concerts during the ’05-’06 season, a special invitation performance at the New England Opera Club on October 2, and appearances with The Andover Music Chamber Music Series/Mistral on November 13 and December 10 and 13.

Presenter Ruby Sales

While studying at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Ruby Sales became involved with the state’s Freedom Summer voter registration drive, which led her to Lowndes County and the fateful day when Jonathan Daniels saved her life. She has since pursued a career of social activism.

Ms. Sales was a Danforth Scholar at Princeton University. She worked as director of the Citizens’ Complaint Center in Washington, DC, taught courses on the civil rights movement and African-American women’s history at the University of Maryland, and served as director of Black Women’s Voices and Images, an initiative to wed research to action on issues affecting black women. She has also worked as director of Women of All Colors, coordinating a broad coalition of progressive organizations to work on issues affecting all women.
Ms. Sales entered the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and studied feminist, African-American, and liberation theologies with an emphasis on race, class, and gender issues. She received her Master’s of Divinity. In 2000 she launched Spirit House, a non-profit enterprise focused on community organizing and spiritually-based community building. She lives in Washington, DC.

Richard Morrisroe

Richard Morrisroe was a young priest serving in a Black, Catholic parish in Chicago when he and Jonathan Daniels met for the first time; both were attending the 10th Annual Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Morrisroe was standing with some others in front of the restored 16th Street Baptist Church where four young girls had been killed two years earlier. "John Lewis, then head of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and civil-rights activist Solely Carmichael introduced us," he recounts. Stokely thought that Jon and I should have some ‘common interests.’ We did have a lot in common. Nine days later, on Friday, August 20th, 1965, we both received shotgun blasts from the same Tom Coleman shotgun." He explains, "The Lord called Jonathan that afternoon. He chose me to live after Charles Cox and Dr. Frank Miles spent eleven hours piecing me back together."
Mr. Morrisroe returned to Chicago, where he continued to minister among various Black, White, and Hispanic communities and parishes. Later, he began to teach sociology and religious studies, with an emphasis on social ethics. Mr. Morrisroe has also practiced law with the Chicago Transit Authority and the City of West Chicago, Indiana. He has been married to his wife, Sylvia, for more than 30 years.
Over the past three decades, Mr. Morrisroe has paid tribute to his "Companion and Friend" by traveling over many miles to visit the cities, states, and landmarks that were a significant part of Daniels’ remarkable missions and short life. He visited Keene, and took some of these important expeditions alongside Jon’s mother, Connie Daniels, and Jon’s sister, Emily Daniels Robey. Other ventures included trips to VMI, "Jon’s college," and the Episcopal Divinity School, "Jon’s seminary."
In addition to honoring his friend’s life, Mr. Morrisroe’s travels have also commemorated Jon’s death. He returned to Hayneville, Alabama. "Jon’s death place" and he journeyed to the Thomas Merton Monastery in Trappist, Kentucky. Here he toured the Abbey of Gethsemani where Jonathan is remembered.
Now, today, he has come to Keene, New Hampshire, where "we joyfully thank the Lord for Jon’s life and gifts."