Douglasville First United Methodist Church invites the community to four free musical recitals as part of the Lenten Concert Series at 6 p.m. in the church sanctuary.
• Soprano Dr. Dawn Neely will perform Wednesday, March 2 at 6:00 pm during the Ash Wednesday service.
• Pianist Portia Shuler Hawkins will perform on Sunday, March 6 at 6 p.m.
• Trumpeter C. Brad Whitfield, MM will perform on Sunday, March 13 at 6:00 p.m.
• Organist Dr. Nicole Marane will perform on Sunday March 20 at 6 p.m.
Soprano and Director Dr. Dawn Neely is Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Opera Workshop at the University of West Georgia (UWG). Dr. Neely received his doctorate in musical arts from the University of Alabama. Dr. Neely has sung in operas and oratorios across the United States. Dr. Neely has given solo and chamber recitals at numerous universities and conferences. His most recent UWG directing credentials include Speed Dating Tonight, Die Fledermaus, An Embarrassing Position, and The Marriage of Figaro. She is a director and theater teacher at the Druid City Opera Workshop. Dr. Neely also directed the Harrower Opera Workshop and served as Associate Director of the Pittsburgh Festival Opera in 2015. Dawn Neely’s research on body awareness/alignment methods has been published in the Journal of Singing. Dr. Neely is currently Vice President of Regions for the National Opera Association.
Portia Shuler Hawkins, originally from South Carolina, is a graduate of Fisk University and Yale University School of Music. While at Yale, she received the George Wellington Miles Award for Outstanding Piano Performance. His private piano teachers include: Francis Whang, Ward Davenny, Virginia Hutchings, Betty Nolting and Pulitzer Prize winner George Walker.
Hawkins has taught at several Eastern colleges and universities, including Spelman College, Agnes Scott College, and Emory University. His CD, “African-American Sampler” has been heard on several public radio stations across the country. She performed Florence Price’s Fantasie Negre on NPR’s “Performance Today” in 1996. Her recent solo and collaborative performances include: Kennesaw State University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Spivey Hall, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and All Saints Episcopal Church.
Currently, she teaches privately, presents lecture recitals on piano music by African American composers, and is a frequent jury member of the Georgia Music Teachers Association, National Federation of Music Clubs, Mu Phi Epsilon, and the National Association of Negro Musicians. On November 6, 2020, Hawkins was selected as “Teacher of the Year” by the Georgia Music Teachers Association.
Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, trumpeter C. Brad Whitfield is sought after as a performer and educator. As an orchestral musician, he has performed as principal trumpet with the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra, Miami Symphony, Ballet Florida, Treasure Coast Opera Orchestra, and Atlantic Classical Orchestra. He has also performed in concert with the Florida Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Key West Symphony, Florida Symphonic Pops, Miami City Ballet, Southwest Florida Symphony and New World Symphony.
Mr. Whitfield is the first trumpeter to graduate from the Harid Conservatory, earned his MM at the University of Miami (FL) and took DMA courses at the University of Georgia. In September 2008, Mr. Whitfield joined the U.S. Army as 42R-9B and served as a member of the U.S. Army TRADOC Band at both Fort Monroe and Fort Eustis, Va., until end of his term honorably in 2012. Mr. Whitfield was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal and the Army Achievement Medal, and is also a recipient of the Adjutant General’s Medal of Excellence.
Australian organist, Dr. Nicole Marane, currently resides in Atlanta, where she is Director of Music at Sandy Springs United Methodist Church. She is also the National Convention Advisor for the American Guild of Organists.
In 2010, Nicole obtained her Doctor of Musical Arts (Performance and Literature – Organ) from the Eastman School of Music, where she was a student of renowned organist, Professor David Higgs. Nicole completed her Masters of Music at Eastman in 2003 and has held graduate assistant positions in the harpsichord and sacred music programs. She was a teaching assistant to David Higgs and received a Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for Excellence in Teaching. Nicole graduated with first class honors from the Australian National University in 1999.
An accomplished performer, Nicole has performed and presented solo organ recitals around the world, notably in prestigious venues such as St. Paul’s Cathedral (London), St. Giles’ Cathedral (Edinburgh), Grace Cathedral (San Francisco ), St. James Cathedral (Toronto), St Thomas Church Fifth Avenue (New York City), Sydney Town Hall and Melbourne Town Hall (Australia).
Douglasville’s First United Methodist Church is located at 6167 Prestley Mill Rd. across from Wellstar Douglas Hospital. For more details, visit douglasvillefumc.org or call 770-942-3146.