By Brian Turk
By Drew AIles
By Taylor Boylston
By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
Today Williams-Cooper says her days as a freelance exorcist are mostly behind her; she delves only into the mystic "when the Lord sends someone." Instead, she's concentrating on her music. "The music is another spiritual experience," she points out. "It meets my needs spiritually and emotionally. At my age, this is kind of like starting over again. For a long time, I've devoted a lot of time to organizing and doing other work in the ministry. But now I feel I'm free to sing. This is what I was meant to do."
Not that Williams-Cooper plans to limit her future endeavors to matters of the voice. In addition to singing, she paints, acts, teaches private vocal lessons, composes and arranges music, and headlines an annual production sponsored by the Swallow Hill Music Association. This year's effort, "Compositions in Black," is designed specifically to allow her to break down the barriers between music styles that so bothered her as a child--it will include gospel, jazz, Negro spirituals and the sounds of Africa and South America. Also on the bill is Kirk Hutchinson, Williams-Cooper's longtime pianist; the Loving Saints Gospel Choir; baritone Christopher Tye and mezzo-soprano Michelle McCalmon, both of whom Williams-Cooper taught while working as a visiting artist at the Cole/Denver School of the Arts; and Ms. Wallace Yvonne McNair, a professor specializing in African-American studies who will narrate the proceedings.
To Williams-Cooper, the program synthesizes her two great passions, music and religion. "I feel that I'm in the last phase of my life--I think you always know," she says. "I'm more aware of that now, and I'm more appreciative of being able to sing. I really do think God has given me this last chance. I'm going to take it and run with it. Run for all it's worth."
The Reverend Dr. Marjorie Williams-Cooper and friends. 8 p.m. Friday, February 16, Cameron Church, 1600 South Pearl, $10/$8 Swallow Hill members, 1-800-444-SEAT or 777-1003.