The Washington, D. C. based NEWorks Productions has informed the D. C. Performing Arts Examiner that Nolan E. Williams, Jr. as been tapped by the U. S. State Department to lead a cultural envoy to Cairo,Egypt. He will lead an impressive ensemble of nine singers on the tour, which includes 2012 Helen Hayes Award winner Nova Tate,Washington National Opera soprano Samantha McElhaney and gospel recording artist Vanessa Williams. Completing the ensemble are Dennis Sawyers, Victoria Purcell, Byron Nichols, Danton Whitley, Iyona Blake, and Joy Swafford.
The NEWorks Inspirational Voices will represent the United States as cultural envoys, singing for the Fifth Annual Sufi and Chanting Festival, an international festival sponsored by Egypt's Ministry of Culture.
Washington National Opera soprano Samantha McElhaney shared about the invitation. "It is an opportunity of a lifetime. When Nolan asked, I could not turn it down. To even go to represent the United States is a blessing. It is the essence of of my career. I feel it is my calling to sing for many nations. So for this to be an international festival and singing for it, I am living out my career. Many are called and few are chosen, and I am blessed to be chosen." the soprano said from her home.
Willliams is certainly excited about the invitation and reflected further. "When I first received an email from a State Department official inquiring if I would be interested in this tour, I was absolutely thrilled, to say the least. I had long hoped to become connected with their cultural exchange programs and had planned to one day apply. It is gratifying to know the work that I have been doing has raised a level of attention that incited this prestigious invitation." he said.
Nolan E. Williams, Jr. is no stranger to the Washington, D. C. community, having served for many years at Metropolitan Baptist Church as Minister of Music and for his countless roles as conductor for major orchestral and choral presentations at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Most recently, he served as visiting professor at Dartmouth College, teaching a course he designed on African American Music traditions. Notably, he was seen at the dedication ceremony of the MLK National Memorial, where he coordinated the music for the occasion, which included a 75-voice choir. Additionally, his Voices of Inspiration have appeared at The White House on four occasions, since President Obama was elected.marking their fourth invitation to perform at the executive mansion since President Obama came into office.
In a statement, Rhonda Dallas, Executive Director of the Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council, says, "It is part of the mission of PGAHC to support arts programming that fosters inter-cultural understanding. We are excited to partner with Nolan Williams and NEWorks as the arts organization partner for this historic tour."
Interested persons can follow them via Twitter @neworkspro and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/nolan.williams. The envoys depart for Cairo this coming Thursday, July 26 and will return on August 5.
Read the original article at: http://www.examiner.com/article/u-s-state-department-taps-nolan-williams-to-lead-cultural-envoy-to-egypt
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