Saturday, October 27, 2012 'New Orleans duo performs spirituals arranged by Ellis Marsalis and other local composers'

Valerie Anne Jones-Francis

By Chris Waddington, | The Times-Picayune on October 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM, updated October 26, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Verdi, Puccini and Ellis Marsalis: the legendary New Orleans jazzman will be in slightly different company on Sunday, Oct. 28, as his work as an arranger is showcased in a 5 p.m. concert of spirituals and art songs. The free program at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1329 Jackson Ave., also features selections by New Orleans composers Roger Dickerson and Moses Hogan.

The show is the brainchild of a notable local duo: spinto-soprano Valerie Anne Jones-Francis and pianist Wilfred Delphin. Jones-Francis teaches at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux and Delphin is on the faculty at Xavier University.

Both artists have been making waves as members of the New Orleans ensemble, Opera Creole, but their performing credits reach back decades. Delphin toured internationally for two decades in a piano duo with Edwin Romain. (They debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1977). Jones-Francis has sung with the New Orleans Opera, the Dallas Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and other ensembles. In 1994, this New Orleans native traveled to New York as a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions. 

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