Deep River: An Exploration of Spirituals

Tuesdays in Lent – March 8th – April 5th, 2022


Deep River: An Exploration of Spirituals returns for its fourth season, beginning on Tuesday, March 8th. Each week’s program will include music, reflection, and small group discussion.

The inspiration for the year’s program is the spiritual, (I told Jesus it Would be Alright) If He Changed My Name. Our musical guests will offer their interpretation of this piece (as well as other selections), and our discussions will focus on what it might mean to be given a name, to discover one’s true name, or to change one’s name. In the context of this spiritual, we’ll look at what it might have meant to an enslaved person to be given the name of their enslaver, and the liberation that might come from claiming a new name.

Deep River has become a feature of Christ Church’s Lenten practice, and intentionally so. Lent is a season where our attention turns to opportunities for change and renewal, of rebirth and reflection on our lives. The hope for this series is that through music and conversation, we will create space to become a new thing, together, in Christ. These programs will take place in-person in the sanctuary, and recordings will be made available on our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our eNewsletter and follow us on Facebook to stay up to date!

Calebria Webb, Mezzo Soprano

Program for March 29th

Moderator & Featured Musician

Coined an onstage tour de force, mezzo-soprano Calebria Webb seamlessly blends talent, a passion for music, and a high admiration for the artform. A Detroit native, Ms. Webb is earning a reputation as a versatile and skilled soloist. A few of her favorite roles performed to date include Ježibaba (Rusalka); Announcer (Gallantry); Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte); Mrs. Nolan (The Medium); and Martin (Martin’s Lie.) An enthusiast of Baroque repertoire, Ms. Webb has performed as the alto soloist for Gloria (Vivaldi), Messiah (Handel), and Magnificat (J. S. Bach.) She regularly sings at Christ Church Detroit. Ms. Webb holds degrees from Winston-Salem State University and Wayne State University, where she studies with Frances Brockington. For more information, please visit 

Chantel Woodard – Mezzo-Soprano

Program for March 8th

Chantel Woodard, mezzo-soprano is a Detroit native with goals of changing the landscape of classical music on stage through her performance, and off stage as an administrator. Her operatic roles include Mother Marie and Mother Jeanne (covers), Dialogues of the Carmelites with Opera MODO; Madame de la Haltiere, Cendrillon with the Mezzano Romantica Festival; and Rosina the Witch, Hansel and Gretel with the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her work as private voice teacher and staff singer with Central United Methodist Church, she also regularly sings with the Michigan Opera Theatre chorus and serves as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Artistic Coordinator. Ms. Woodard holds degrees in Voice Performance from Wayne State University (M.M.) and Virginia State University (B.M.)

X. Alexander Durden – Tenor

Program for March 22nd

X. Alexander Durden has appeared throughout the US, Canada, and the Western North Atlantic region as a recitalist, concert soloist and actor in venues such as Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre. He has also facilitated conversation around the Black American Theatre at Arena Stage, Virginia Repertory Theatre and Harvard University. Select roles include Jones Morgan in the National tour of Buffalo Soldier (Virginia Repertory Theatre), Everybody in Everybody (Hilberry Theatre), and Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail(Capitol City Opera). X. Alexander received undergraduate training from Morehouse College and graduate training in Vocal Performance and Acting, The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Wayne State University, respectively. / @xadurden

Dorian Dillard II – Tenor

Praised for his warm velvet color, tenor, Dorian L. Dillard II is a versatile musician who shines equally in operatic and concert repertoire. Mr. Dillard is a graduate from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in Voice Performance and received his Bachelors from Claflin University. In 2019, Dorian sang the role of Chicken Plucker and William in the World Premiere of Terrance Blanchard’s new opera Fire Shut Up in My Bones, while a Gerdine Young Artist at Opera Theatre St. Louis. Mr. Dillard’s other operatic performances include, Diron (Minette Fontaine), Tamino, (Die Zauberflöte,) Peter the Honey Man (Porgy & Bess), Larry Renault (Dinner at Eight), Tybalt (Roméo & Juliet) King Kasper (Amahl and the Night visitors), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi). In concert, Mr. Dillard II, has had the opportunity to perform as a Tenor soloist in Kathleen Battle’s, Kathleen Battle; Underground Railroad, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and most recently Händel’s Messiah. Dorian also has won awards, including 1st place in his category in the NATS Competition, a Finalist in the Opera MODO Detroit Aria Competition, a semi finalist in the Marcello Giordani Vocal Competition, a finalist in the George Shirley African American Operatic Aria and Art Song Competition, and an Encouragement Award Winner from the MET National Council Auditions Southeastern District.

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