Lend an ear to Calvin Carter

Published 11:11 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2019


A local tenor’s ability to sing has earned him something of a fan club, and an arrangement has been made for him to share his gift of song.

Calvin Carter will sing several musical selections for a concert on Saturday, March 16, at 3 p.m. in High Street United Methodist Church on Camp Parkway. — Stephen H. Cowles Tidewater News

Calvin Carter will perform a number of songs in concert on Saturday, March 16, beginning at 3 p.m., in High Street United Methodist Church, 31164 Camp Parkway, Courtland.

There is no admission fee, but a love offering will be collected. Carter’s “fans” hope to raise money to help him complete formal studies.

Evidently, a personal situation required him to take a break from school, which ended his scholarship.

“[At Campbell University] I’m finishing the last leg of my master’s of arts degree in Christian ministry with a focus in music and church worship,” said Carter, who had first earned a bachelor’s degree in musical education with a concentration on voice from Chowan University. For a time, he was a student at Franklin High School, but in his junior year went to Thomas Dale High School in Chesterfield.

In addition to classes, Carter works as a substitute teacher of science and social studies at S.P. Morton Elementary School in Franklin.

After graduation, he said, “Ministry’s going to be one of the things that I am most leaning on. Hopefully, I will get my teaching certificate to teach full time.”

Reared by his grandmother, Ada Files of Courtland, his musical abilities were recognized early on.

“I started going to church with her and singing ever since. I started initially at Holy Prayer Room Church in Rich Square, North Carolina. The pastor [Bishop Dorothy Ruffin] prayed over me and said to do what God tells me to do [with this gift].”

Later, Carter went to Piney Grove Baptist Church in Franklin, where he got involved in a lay ministry. He credits the pastor, the Rev. Alfred D. Brown and first lady Pamela Brown — also his godparents — for his career direction.

“They’re the reason for my being in the ministry,” said Carter. “Singing is my release and freedom. I feel free and happy. It brings me the most joy.”

Growing up, he listened to singers such as Leontyne Price and Luciano Pavarotti on WHRO.

“Lots of different stuff. No particular genre. I still listen to music that was not really popular. I love alternative Christian, R&B, old school Motown and soul. Anything that’s pleasing to the ear.”

Through Jennifer Stephenson, he met Gaynelle Riddick, who took him to sing at a Rotary Club meeting, which reportedly impressed all who heard him. Carter thanked them for following and supporting him.

The program features only him and is expected to last about 45 minutes to an hour tops. Some of the selections will include “Comfort Ye” and “Every Valley” by Handel; some spirituals by Moses Hogan and Damien Sneed,” and an aria from Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love.”

“I have consider opera [as a career choice,] but my heart is always on ministry,” Carter said. “If I go full time with opera, I would lose the joy. That’s the best job in ministry: Touching lives.”

“I hope that people will come enjoy the music. Come with an open mind, open ear and open heart.”