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First United Methodist Church hosting special opera night this Sunday
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Covington native Florence Peacock and Mark Whatley will give a free opera concert Sunday, Nov. 18, at First United Methodist Church of Covington.

Accompanying Peacock's soprano and Whatley's baritone will be church organist Becky Ramsey on the organ and her twin sister Alice Walker on the piano. A cellist, violinist and oboist will also provide accompaniment

The concert, which begins at 3 p.m., is part of First United Methodist's Inaugural Concert Series for its newly expanded and re-built organ.

"This program that's coming up with Mark and Florence is going to be a delightful afternoon of music," Ramsey said. "They both have magnificent voices."

A member of the Fowler family, Peacock received her master's degree in music from Yale University and is a professional soprano singer and voice instructor. She has performed in Tokyo, Indonesia and toured frequently throughout the U.S.

She has served as President of the Chapel Hill Music Teacher's Association and on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Symphony and the Opera Company of North Carolina and on the National Board of Directors of Early Music America. For the past 25 years she has been a soloist at Oberlin College's Baroque Performance Institute.

The son of First United Methodist's minister, Mark Whatley also has connections to Covington. Whatley, who is currently working on his Doctor of Musical Arts at Rice University in Houston, Texas, has been singing professionally since completing his master's degree in 2000.

He has sung with many regional opera companies in addition to performing in opera houses in Italy. In 2002 he was the first place winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Next Sunday's concert will include performances from a varied group of composers.

Whatley said the concert will begin with one of Bach's famous cantatas and end with a duet from the award-winning Broadway play "The Phantom of the Opera."

In addition, Whatley said he will perform a set of Italian songs, first popularized to the world by the late Luciano Pavarotti.

A nursery will be provided at Sunday's concert and a reception in the church Fellowship Hall will follow the performance.