The passing of Jessye Norman continues to impact admirers around the world.  A new recording featuring the soprano is slated for release November 2019.

by Patrick D. McCoy


A few years ago, a video began to circulate of soprano Jessye Norman‘s voice ringing out in the famous arrangement of the spiritual “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” by Margaret Bonds.  What was so captivating about this viral video was that Ms. Norman was seated in a mobile wheelchair, yet stood taller than any mighty oak, both in voice and stature.  There was not a lot of context offered about this impressive video at the time of its posting.

Her long time mentee, friend and piano accompanist Damien Sneed shared directly about this particular gala performance as a part of the Atlanta Music Festival which took place on November 18, 2016, resulting in what will be the final sound recording by the world renowned soprano.  Norman died on Monday, September 30, 2019 at the age of 74.

(Damien Sneed accompanied soprano Jessye Norman on her last international tour as well as her final sound recording.)

Sneed reminisced about the experience with a sense of great honor.  “We performed and recorded “Come Sunday” & “Heaven” by Duke Ellington, my arrangement of the spiritual “Gospel Train”  and “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” by Margaret Bonds.  This will be Jessye Norman’s last recording”  he shared.

Also a native of Augusta, GA, Damien enjoyed a close friendship with Ms. Norman, both as mentee and musical accompanist.  He went on to reflect about some of his most recent performances with her.  “I was also blessed to be her accompanist for her last recital and her last international trip at the Grand Teatre du Chatelet in Aix-en-Provence, France” he reflected.
The recording “Bound for the Promised Land,” slated release November 2, 2019  features soprano Jessye Norman with tenor Timothy Miller, The Morehouse/Spelman Glee Clubs, The Meridian Chorale and The Chancel Choir of First Congregational Church, UCC conducted by Dwight Andrews and Steven Darsey.




Watch this trailer for a glimpse into the recording “Bound for the Promised Land”

Atlanta Music Festival to release Bound for the Promise Land CD from Erica Brenner on Vimeo.



A native of Petersburg, VA, Patrick holds a BM in Vocal Performance from Virginia State University and a MM in Church Music from Shenandoah Conservatory.  Formerly the Performing Arts Columnist for Washington Life Magazine, he currently is a freelance writer, publishing articles for several noted publications, including The Washington Post, Early Music America Classical Music Voice North America, The Afro-American Newspaper, CBS Washington and Examiner.com.  He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., The American Choral Directors’ Association, a member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors and a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  He serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Zion Parish in Beltsville, MD. Visit http://patrickdmccoy.com