Soprano Hope Koehler, assistant professor of voice in West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts, sang last weekend in the opening ceremonies of the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., as part of the American Spiritual Ensemble.

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games opened with an international display of stage and equine talent, as well as an appearance by Kentucky native Muhammad Ali.

The ceremony was held in the Kentucky Horse Park’s outdoor arena and also featured country music star Wynonna Judd, opera star Denyce Graves, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, bluegrass music stars Cherryholmes and Irish tenor Ronan Tynan.

The American Spiritual Ensemble performed in a New Orleans segment of the show on Sept. 25 that also featured the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Koehler is a regular performer and featured soloist with the Ensemble, which performs all over the world, and whose mission is to keep the American Negro Spiritual alive and vibrant.

Koehler has been on the faculty of the prestigious Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts for eight years and taught at the American Institute for Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria, in 2006 and 2010.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Voice Performance and Music Education at Lipscomb University in Nashville, her Master of Music degree in Voice Performance at the University of Alabama and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

She has appeared with many opera companies and orchestras throughout the United States. Her other stage credits include operetta and musical theatre, and she has performed as a soloist in oratorio and other choral orchestral works.

The Kentucky Horse Park seats about 25,000 people, and approximately 500 athletes who are participating in the Games marched in a 58-country parade of nations. These are the first World Equestrian Games held in the United States.


CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4841 ext. 3108,

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