Arts & Culture

UK Opera Talents Lend Their Voices to Phyllis George Memorial

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photo of masked Tedrin Blair Lindsay, Whit Whitaker, Everett McCorvey and Dione Johnson Napier in Capitol for Phyllis George Memorial

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2020) A memorial for former First Lady of Kentucky Phyllis George was broadcast Monday, May 25, for viewers across the Commonwealth by KET (Kentucky Educational Television). The livestreamed ceremony, held in the state’s Capitol, gave citizens across Kentucky an opportunity to remember the life and many accomplishments of George during a time when only a limited number could attend due to safety restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The memorial held in the Capitol Rotunda commemorated the life and work of the beloved businesswoman, actress, Miss America, TV host, news anchor, pioneering sportscaster and first lady. Known for her championing of Kentucky’s artists on a national stage, it was not surprising the ceremony included several musical performances by noted vocalists with connections to the state.  

Among the musicians featured in “A Capitol Farewell: Phyllis Ann George” were four of UK Opera Theatre’s faculty and alumni. UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey, alumnus and Director of the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center Whit Whitaker and alumna Dione Johnson Napier opened the ceremony with the state song. Other songs performed included “Amazing Grace” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The UK vocalists were accompanied by Tedrin Blair Lindsay on the piano. In addition to the performers with UK ties, Broadway veteran and Kentucky native Laura Bell Bundy performed two songs virtually from her home in California. Lindsay closed out the program playing “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” which George played when competing in Miss America.

To watch the memorial in its entirety, visit KET online at: www.ket.org/program/phyllis-george-memorial/.

UK Opera Theatre is part of the School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The school has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, and theory and music history.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.