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Make Them Hear You: A Recital of Spirituals

February 18, 2018

Celebrating Black History Month at The Phelps

Sunday, February 18 at 3:00 p.m. at 191 Court Street in Binghamton

Call (607) 722-4873 for reservations


$15 at the door. $10 for members and seniors.


TSHOMBE SELBY, a native of Manteo, North Carolina, was first introduced to music in church where he began singing with theyouth choir at the age of five. His musical talents and need to share it were immediately recognized by his church, school, and community. At 15, he became Minister of Music for his church, taught himself toplay the gospel keyboard and performed at countless school and community events. Tshombe received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance from Elizabeth City State University where he enjoyed the position of tenor soloist in the University Choir.

His experience there was formative. Performance experience included tours of the United States and Africa as well as giving performances to North Carolina State senators and the United States Congress. It was through his choir experience that he discovered his love for opera. In the spring of 2013, Tshombe was invited to apprentice with Nico Castel and his wife, Carol Castel, of the New York Opera Studio. After commuting from North Carolina every several weeks for five months, he moved to New York in the fall of 2013. He gave his solo Carnegie Hall debut in the Stein Auditorium in February 2015 as a tenor soloist with DCINY in The Exodus, an oratorio by E. Robinson. Selby has performed many roles in the New York metropolitan area including King Kasper (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Count Almaviva (Barber of Seville), the Duke (Rigoletto), Lensky (Eugene Onegin), and Alfred (Die Fledermaus).

In February 2017, it was his pleasure and honor to be invited to sing at the Poor People’s Campaign to a crowd of 90,000 participants during its annual march in Raleigh, North Carolina. In the spring of 2017, Selby performed a concert of arias and spirituals at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. A few weeks later he was featured soloist for the Sullivan County Community Chorus. Selby then recorded his first solo project, Make Them Hear You, a collection of hymns and spirituals. During the summer, Selby sang with the Delaware Valley Opera as the tenor in its production of Trouble in Tahiti. At the year’s end, he was invited back by the Sullivan County Community Choir to sing the tenor solos in Bach’s Magnificat. Simultaneously, Selby was invited as guest soloist for the 17th anniversary gala at Central Baptist Church on West 92nd Street in New York.

This spring will see Tshombe singing concerts of spirituals at various locations in the New York City area. Also, in 2018, Tshombe is going international! He will perform in The Magic Flute, Terrence McNally’s Masterclass, and the new Canadian one-act opera, Construction Workers in Love in Edmonton, Alberta at the
Opera NOVA 2018 Festival. In September, he travels back to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to perform Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata. Mr. Selby studies voice with Carol Castel and coaches music and language with Roger Malouf, assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, Corradina Caporello at the Juilliard School, and William Vendice, now retired from the Los Angeles Opera.


A well-respected collaborative pianist, composer, teacher and vocal coach, ISHMAEL WALLACE is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and Mannes College of Music. He resides in New York City where he is co-founder and pianist for the Orfeo Duo. Together with his violinist sister, Vita, their mission is to bring inspiration and encouragement to people of all ages and backgrounds through music-making that expresses the breath of life. They are currently recording Beethoven’s ten violin and piano sonatas using an early 1800s historical piano. Ishmael can be heard on a number of recordings for various labels in concert with his sister. As a duo, Ishmael is involved giving neighborhood concerts and workshops and receives strong support from the community.


SHARON BALL is a specialist in helping artists write about their work and in creating ritual environments for people to mark meaningful life transitions. She
was formerly NPR senior cultural editor and Broome County Arts Council executive director. She is a skilled producer, public speaker, and singer.

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Thank you to the following for help and preparation with this afternoon’s recital to Toby Jean Manker, Carol Castel, Lance G. Hill, Steven Nanni, Chris Kocher, Sharon Ball, and Angel Zdimal.


February 18, 2018
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