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The Spirituals Project

The Spirituals Project

In 1998, The Spirituals Project was founded by Arthur C. Jones to preserve and revitalize the music and teachings of the sacred folk songs called “spirituals,” created and first sung by African Americans in slavery. The Spirituals Project is a past recipient of the Denver Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. The project has presented a wide variety of high-profile musical and educational programs over the years, including a national conference on spirituals in 2013 featuring poet Nikki Giovanni as keynote speaker, and a historic concert in 2009 at Denver’s Ellie Caulkins Opera House in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 80th birthday, featuring the renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. Most recently, in September 2018, The Spirituals Project Choir performed with renowned opera soprano Kathleen Battle as she presented her concert, “Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey” at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. With the official transition of The Spirituals Project to the University of Denver, the multi-ethnic Spirituals Project Choir will present concerts in a variety of venues and will continue to present educational programs regionally and nationally.


M. Roger Holland II, Director

M. Roger Holland II is a teaching associate professor in music and religion and director of The Spirituals Project at the Lamont School of Music, University of Denver. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he received the Master of Divinity degree, Roger also served as artist-in-residence and director of the Union Gospel Choir for over 13 years.In 2015, Union awarded him the Trailblazers Distinguished Alumni Award, the first given to a graduate whose ministry is music, for his contributions to the legacy of African American music. He received a master’s degree in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music, also in New York, and completed his undergraduate work at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, where he majored in music education with a concentration in piano and voice. Roger is the editor of the In Spirit and Truth series published by GIA Publications, Inc., which reflects the aesthetic of Black Catholic worship. Commissioned works include The Dream and The Dreamer, The Tribulation Suite, and The Call. In 2023, Roger was recognized by the Association of Catholic Publishers as Composer of the Year and awarded Song of the Year for his composition, “All of Me: Ode to Sr. Thea,” in honor of Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman, currently a candidate for canonization. He has played for the Broadway productions of Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple and the Tony award-winning show Memphis. In November 2016, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York presented Roger with the Pierre Toussaint Medallion for service.

John Hubert

Artistic Director, Arvada Chorale

John Hubert is a conductor, singer, instrumentalist, musical collaborator, teacher, husband, father and lover of life from St. Louis, Missouri. He received his bachelor’s in music from Truman State University (‘00) and master’s in music from the University of Colorado Boulder (‘03) before pursuing his career as a professional musician.


John believes in the power of musical communities to bring people together and explore themselves
through their musical repertoire. He has conducted inspiring performances with ensembles at the First Universalist Church of Denver, Regis University, the Spirituals Project and now the Arvada Chorale. He has been a guest conductor for many other ensembles in the Denver metro area and beyond.


John lives in Lakewood with his beloved wife, Christmas, and children, Nick and Naomi.

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Chappell Kingsland

Chorale Accompanist and Organist

Chappell Kingsland’s diverse professional activities share a common goal: to promote cross-cultural understanding and create emotionally rich experiences through music. This concert marks his 10th season as accompanist/arranger for the Arvada Chorale! He is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, teaching aural skills, theory at the keyboard, music theory and arranging. Chappell’s classes explore music from different time periods, world cultures, and genres of popular music. 
As a solo pianist and organist, his concerts and recordings weave together art music and popular music into a uniquely personal synthesis. As a composer, Chappell thrives at the intersection of musical worlds, drawing equal inspiration from the European/American tradition and from diverse musical sources ranging from Balinese gamelan and Japanese koto to Bulgarian dance and West African kora. 
As the executive director of the Wild Beautiful Orchestra, he creates opportunities for many musicians to perform, record and collaborate. Chappell lives in Lakewood with his wife Jennifer and their three sons. Find him on the web at or Facebook @ck4piano.

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