Alvin Waddles, pianist/vocalist
Pianist, singer, composer, director, Alvin Waddles began studying the piano at the age of eight in his hometown of Detroit. He continued his studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the University Of Michigan School Of Music. After returning home to Detroit he immediately immersed himself in the rich musical culture of the city, benefiting from the diverse influences that would eventually shape his own unique style.
Mr. Waddles has worked in the Detroit and Ann Arbor Public Schools and currently serves as Musical Consultant/Musical Director for the Mount Vernon Public Schools, Performing Arts Dept in New York. He has also served as Music Ministries of several churches; among them, the historic New Bethel Baptist Church, Hartford Memorial Baptist and Hope United Methodist in Southfield, Michigan where he has served as the Director of Music since 1995.
He has been musical director and/or pianist for numerous theatrical productions including: The Wiz, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, Chorus Line, West Side Story, Sophisticated Ladies. He served for a decade as Musical Director for The Three Mo’ Tenors, aka Cook, Dixon & Young and their touring productions and recordings.
He received rave reviews as a featured performer in the Detroit Music Hall’s long running production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. During the 2010-2011 season his diverse gifts were on full display when, within a two week period, he sang the role of Crown for Bolling Green University’s production of Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’ and played the composer’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ with the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.
Mr. Waddles has delighted Detroit music lovers with performances in a variety of musical events including the international Detroit Jazz Fest and the Detroit Festival of the Arts. He is the featured piano soloist in the often-sold-out annual productions of “Too Hot to Handel” in both Detroit and Chicago and can be found performing wherever music is celebrated from festivals to jazz clubs, and performing arts venues. Waddles received the 2010 Excellence Award from Detroit Musicians Association and the Detroit City Council’s 2015 Spirit of Detroit Award. This year he was the 2018 Artist in Residence at the Tuba Bach Festival in west Michigan.
Mr. Waddles’ engagements as a soloist and featured artist have taken him to a variety of destinations including Barbados, Beijing, Paris, Barcelona and Ghana, West Africa. He has been blessed to work with some of the world’s finest musicians including Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, Brazeal Dennard, Minister Thomas Whitfield, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Placido Domingo, George Shirley, Marcus Belgrave, Jack Jones, Haley Westenra, Stephanie Mills and Tramaine Hawkins.
Alice McAllister Tillman, soprano
Alice McAllister Tillman is known for her ability to perform a diverse range of literature spanning many genres. She has been presented in solo recitals that include art songs, operatic arias, spirituals, Musical Theater and jazz. She is frequently engaged in oratorio and symphonic presentations. Highlights as a soloist include Bach’s Magnificat, Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen, Margaret Bond’s Credo, Adolphus Hailstork’s I Will Lift Mine Eyes, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate, Mozart’s Requiem, Garcia’s Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Coleridge-Taylor Perkins’ Symphony of the Sphinx premiered by The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Thomas Wilkerson, Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music Concert under the baton of David Berger during the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival, Dave Brubeck’s To Hope with the Brubeck Quartet during the 2013 Detroit Jazz Festival, Adolphus Hailstork’s Earthrise during the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Classical Roots Series under the baton of Maestro Leonard Slatkin, Henry Panion’s Here We Are under with Maestro Roderick Cox, From Broadway to the Met Livonia Symphony and Maestro Volodymyr Shesiuk, featured artist for the 2013 and 2019 Azalia Hackley Concert presented by the Friends of the Detroit Public Library E. Azalia Hackley Collection. The Hackley Collection highlights the achievements of African Americans in the Performing Arts. Ms. McAllister Tillman was privileged to pay homage to music icon, Aretha Franklin, by performing Schubert’s Ave Maria at Ms. Franklin’s Funeral Service in August 2018.
Alice is a long-standing member of the Award-Winning Brazeal Dennard Chorale and accepted the role of Artistic Director in September of 2015. In her debut season as Artistic Director, Ms. McAllister Tillman had the honor of conducting The Brazeal Dennard Chorale and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Roland Carter’s Lift Every Voice and Sing.
She holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance, a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a State of Michigan Teacher Certification from The University of Michigan School of Music, Theater & Dance. Alice McAllister Tillman has an incredible love of teaching and has been a Voice Instructor at every level including Kindergarten through Post-Graduate Studies.
Ms McAllister Tillman is the creator and featured solo artist of “Once Upon a December Eve,” a concert presented each December that has become a Holiday Tradition in the Detroit Metropolitan Area.
Alice McAllister Tillman is a featured recording artist on The Second Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers, The New Negro Spiritual, Remembering II Significant Spirituals, Reflections and Once Upon a December Eve.
Gregory Ashe, tenor
Gregory J. Ashe – Tenor
Mr. Ashe is a native of Huber Heights, Ohio earned his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music
Performance degrees from Bowling Green State University. Mr. Ashe has been seen in Cincinnati
Opera’s young artist program as Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess: Redux; was part of Arias in Motion, a
culminating performance of the OperaWorks Emerging Artist Program in Los Angeles and part of the
World premiere opera Buffalo Soldier where he debuted the role of Herbie Jenkins in Italy. He has
recently been seen as the tenor soloist with the Toledo Choral Society in their 100 th century Centennial
Jubilee performance of The Great Lakes Cantata, The Seven Last Words of Christ and The Messiah in the
2021-2022 season. He has also been seen in Voices of Light with Rackham Choir, Prune Man in La
Boheme, French Soldier #3 in Silent Night and the Deputy in Michigan Opera’s production of The Grapes
of Wrath. Mr. Ashe has sung with several groups in Ohio, Michigan and the surrounding region including
the Dayton Opera, Toledo Opera, Piqua and Sidney Civic Bands, The Gateway Choral Society,
Masterworks Chorale, Rackham Choir and the Toledo Choral Society. Mr. Ashe works at Oakland
University and is also a chorister with Detroit Opera and has recently sung in his 25 th production with the
Dominic Waddles, saxophone
Dominic Waddles is a saxophonist, composer, and arranger. A graduate of Wayne State University with a B.M in Jazz Studies, Dominic has already had arrangements performed at the Detroit International Jazz Festival and by Grammy Award winning artists Ledisi and Brandy. He is currently the director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Civic Jazz Band.
Testimony Sings (Detroit Gospel Quintet)
Take five female singers, who develop a bond blending their voices as part of a gospel choir in suburban Detroit, and transform those voices into 5-part harmony with versatility and abilities. The result: Testimony Sings. Testimony Sings, a spirit-filled quintet of five women, began their mission through song in 2005. Since their formation, this bold ensemble has developed a mature, unique sound and ministry unparalleled.
Angela Bostic (soprano), Keisha Lanae’ [Lah-nay] (alto), Chandra [Shawn-drah] Lewis (mezzo-soprano), Lori Waddles (contralto) and Lori Wesby (soprano) are individuals who recognized their spiritual gifts early. Singing most of their lives, these women have performed solo, participated individually in various choirs and groups as well as collectively, and have been blessed to work with many masterful musicians. Since prayerfully accepting the call, Testimony Sings has ministered in song among a number of congregations, at festivals and community events across the region. The ensemble has been honored to perform the opening and closing ceremonies at the Komen Race for the Cure for the past five years. While each lady adds their individual style and flavor, the fusion of their voices in harmony is seamless. This multitalented five-some appeals to a wide audience, utilizing their individual and collective history of musical genres – traditional and contemporary Gospel, classical, chamber, jazz, R&B and soul. These five women consider it a privilege to spread the Gospel through their own testimonies, encouraging others to be testimonies of God’s favor. They are most inspired by lives transformed by the presentation of the Holy Spirit.
As singers and songwriters, Testimony Sings is forthright and uncompromising about their purpose — to touch and inspire all audiences through their music and unashamed praise through song. The quintet is working on original material and be it His will, plans to pursue higher heights in the near future.