Building on the work pioneered by the two previous Executive Directors, Amani Ali has been working to expand the vision and reach of The Spirituals Project for the last four years. Working with the Board of Directors, he has re-branded the TSP front office, relocating it to the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education, and creating The Spirituals Project Educational Institute – with a focus on sharing the music, wisdom and ongoing relevance of African American spirituals with youth. In embracing a vision for the future, he is formulating The Spirituals Project’s new National Center for Performance and Research, to be located in the historic Mary Reed Hall on the University of Denver campus, which will target specific groups for collaborative projects that further document the history, music, and teachings of African American spirituals.
An award-winning journalist, and businessman who has been a community and civic leader in the Denver metro area for more than two decades. Mr. Ali graduated from Howard University, studied law, and received his MBA in Strategic Management from Regis University. He is the former president of the Colorado Association of Black Journalists, and deputy regional director of the National Association of Black Journalists. He is a member of the President’s Council of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, serves on the board of Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, and is a business advisor to the top management team at MillerCoors. He is married to popular multimedia journalist and CBS4 commentator, Gloria Neal.
While living on the East Coast, Ms. Hutchins taught voice through the Dieckow School of Music in New Jersey and worked for nearly 20 years as a Program Administrator at the American Indian Community House (a multi-faceted social support agency and cultural center for Native Americans in New York City). She is a member of David I. Martin Music Guild of NANM (National Association of Negro Musicians) and a Board member of Anointed Word of Deliverance Ministries. After 22 years of living on the east coast, Ms, Hutchins moved back to Denver last summer (to be with her family) and has recently accepted the position of Deputy Director of The Spirituals Project.
A protégé of the late Metropolitan Opera baritone Arthur Thompson, Ms. Hutchins is known for her chilling renditions of African American spirituals, as well as European art songs and arias. She grew up singing gospel music, and as an adult she trained classically, singing with Opera Colorado for five seasons. In addition to her solo performances of spirituals, blossoming under the tutelage of Thompson, she toured for several years as the lead soprano with the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble, and is featured as soprano soloist on the Ensemble’s critically acclaimed recording of composer Linda Twine’s cantata “Sisters of Freedom” (aka “Changed My Name”). During her national and international tours, Ms. Hutchins has performed with numerous symphony orchestras as well as notable personalities such as Jessye Norman, Whoopi Goldberg, Elton John, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Bill T. Jones, Max Roach, and Anna Deavere Smith.
Dee Galloway attended the University of Denver where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Business, and where Dr. Arthur Jones became one of her professors, thesis adviser, mentor and friend. Ms. Galloway is a gifted poet who performs throughout the Denver area. In 2006, The Spirituals Project commissioned her to create a poem in honor of the spirituals, and her epic poem, “They Slice the Air” eventually became the eponymous track of the Spirituals Project Choir’s latest CD.
Ms. Galloway is also an accomplished vocalist and choral performer who has sung with the New York Choral Society, the Colorado Chorale, and the Denver Women’s Chorus. She currently performs with the Denver Chorale and Southern Journey, an ensemble dedicated to sharing the music and stories collected by renowned musicologist Alan Lomax. Ms. Galloway maintains that the spirituals sustain her through good times and bad, and she finds them to be a vital element in the foundation of her life.