Erica Papillion-Posey and Clayton G. Williams to perform at the Michigan Lay Organization’s Annual A.M.E. Conference


(July 7 – DENVER, CO) – Following a sold-out European tour, Erica Papillion-Posey, mezzo-soprano and Clayton G. Williams, baritone will perform selections from their blockbuster concert series, Souls of the Soil, for Michigan audiences.

In collaboration with the Michigan Lay Organization’s Annual A.M.E Conference, Ms. Papillion-Posey and Mr. Williams will present an eclectic selection of American music to the attendees at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (535 Cathay Street, Saginaw, MI 48601) on August 14, 2014.

Ms. Papillion-Posey, described as “…a living tribute and testimony to the memory of the great Ms. Marian Anderson, the legendary opera superstar and African-American trailblazer [Denver Weekly News],” discusses the pieces selected for the program, “Clayton and I wilSouls of the Soill be presenting an array of African American spirituals, such as Motherless Child, Steal Away and Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen by prominent composers known for their poignant arrangements of these historic, cultural works.”

The musical offering will be featured at 12:00pm during the Hour of Power and at 7:00pm as part of the Annual Lay Night program, which will be presided by Hendrean H. Williams, the Director of Lay Activities.  Recipients of Lay Organization scholarships will also be recognized at this time, which is especially significant as Mr. Williams was previously honored as a scholarship recipient.

“I am excited about singing for this years 4th District A.M.E. Annual Conference in Saginaw.”  Mr. Williams recalls, “In 2007, I was awarded the Idelle Henry Fine Arts Award by the Michigan Conference Lay Organization of the 4th Episcopal District to study voice and I think by presenting selections from the Souls of the Soil concert series I am able to give back to the community who so generously supported me.”

A complete list of future engagements featuring Souls of the Soil follows:

August 13 – 17

Saginaw, Michigan

A.M.E Religious Conference presents “Souls of the Soil”


September 7

Detroit, Michigan

Michigan Comprehensive Service Network “Souls of the Soil”


September 27

Denver, Colorado

King at the Opera presents “Souls of the Soil”


October TBD

New York, New York

Emanuel A.M.E Church “Souls of the Soil”

October 25

Denver, Colorado

Grand by Design at the Opera presents “Souls of the Soil”


About Souls of the Soil:

Souls of the Soil: An American Recital Series is a collaboration featuring professional classical/opera singers: Erica Papillion-Posey, mezzo-soprano of Denver, Colorado and Clayton G. Williams, baritone of Manhattan, New York. After meeting, in 2011, during an opera festival in Siena, Italy these two artists have forged a wonderful, lasting friendship but share a love and devotion to the classical arts, which has propelled them into this endearing project- Souls of the Soil.

With rich, diverse backgrounds and cultures to pull from, Souls of the Soil is a musical concert offering two moving, powerful programs of arias from celebrated operas, sacred and secular art songs, beloved African American spirituals, memorable musical theatre selections and heart-warming jazz standards.

With previous and current schedules spanning the United States to Europe and beyond, Souls of the Soil has performed in some of the most breathtaking concert halls, opera houses, cathedrals, churches and private recital salons.


About Erica Papillion-Posey

In 2013, mezzo-soprano Erica Papillion-Posey made her professional North American debut in what has become her signature role of Carmen, where she, “…. captured Carmen’s slinky sexiness, radiating allure and trouble… She had the vocal power to sing a soft, seductive “Habanera” in a hall-filling, rounded voice, lingering over the phrases as the men in the square watched. She snapped off the Spanish-style ornaments of the “Seguidilla”, and was especially compelling in the lower register, where Carmen’s sultriness comes through…” [South Florida Classical Review].  After being hailed as, “… the best Carmen this city has seen in decades” [El Nuovo Herald] the Miami Lyric Opera has engaged Ms. Papillion-Posey for another performance of Carmen in November 2014.

Following sold out performances in Louisiana and Colorado, Ms. Papillion-Posey most recently embarked on a European recital tour entitled Souls of the Soil in collaboration with baritone, Clayton Graves Williams.  The overwhelming popularity of the program, which features an eclectic array of American music, compelled the duo to schedule additional performances throughout Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, and New York during 2014.

In 2010, Ms. Papillion-Posey made her international operatic debut as Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica at the Tuscia Opera Festival, under the baton of maestro Stefano Vignati.  The demand for her “wonderful voice… full of grace and sensuality” [El Nuevo Herald] and her fierce commitment to character keeps European audiences coming back for more.  Memorable European performances include the title role of Carmen, the Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte both with the Tuscia Opera Festival, Annina in La Traviata with Teatro Kizmet Opera, and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Siena Opera.

Stateside, Ms. Papillion-Posey’s notable roles include her portrayal of Princess Akara in the world premiere of The Lady or the Tiger, an adaptation of Frank Stockton’s beloved short story by composers Cherise Leiter and Leanna Kirchoff.  Ms. Papillion-Posey’s “purely exciting and rich voice” [Arte & Musica Magazine] was also featured as Baba in The Medium, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte, and in the title role in The Rape of Lucretia.

A prolific concert artist and recitalist, Ms. Papillion-Posey’s repertoire includes performances of Handel’s Messiah, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater under the direction of Timothy Léon in Tarquinia, Civita di Bagnoregio, Castilione, Capranica and Ronciglione in addition to several solo recitals.

Last year, Ms. Papillion-Posey was named a Continuo Arts, Milton Cross Young Artists Winner after being named the organization’s Rising Star Young Artists Winner in 2012.  Other accolades and awards include first and second place winner of the Vocal Arts Competition of Colorado, respectively in 2005 and 2006, International Lyric Academy of Rome e Viterbo Award, AMICI of Denver Scholarship, Dante Alighieri Music Scholarship Competition, Jeff Bradley Music Scholarship Fund, E. Stoddard Young Endowment Scholarship, Stratton Faulhaber Scholarship, Coulter Norbloom Scholarship Grant and Joseph Docksey Career Development Fund Award.

Ms. Papillion-Posey earned a Master of Music degree and Advanced Certificate in Vocal Performance (both with honors and distinction) from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music.  She also holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Metropolitan State University of Denver.  She currently studies with renowned mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry.

Learn more about Erica at


About Clayton G. Williams

Clayton G. Williams, a baritone was educated in the Detroit Public Schools where he attended the selective Detroit School of the Fine and Performing Arts (DSA). He obtained a B.A. degree in Music from the Winston-Salem State University andearned his Master’s degree in Music at the Manhattan School of Music. While at Winston-Salem State he not only sang in the University Chorus and University Men’s Choirs, he also conducted the University Chorus in selections from Handel’s Messiah.

Clayton has studied voice at the Siena Summer Music Program in Siena, Italy twice where he completed a six-week intensive vocal performance program. At the Manhattan School of Music’s summer festival he was casted as Papageno in Mozart’s Magic Flute and Bunthorne in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience.  He was also a cast member of a musical revue called Coming to America featuring music all composed by Irving Berlin. While in graduate school, Clayton performed in Broadway Babies doing scenes from Shall We Dance by Ira and George Gershwin and Musilda, a musical parody based on Ronald Dahl’s Matilda currently being performed on Broadway and Mignon Dunn’s Opera scenes as Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

Clayton is also a recipient of the Brazeal W. Dennard Scholarship, Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarships, and a regional winner of the NBA Gold-Standard Scholarship during its inaugural year, and a member of the Mu Beta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Inc.

He has been coached by Hilda Harris, Dan Gettinger, Bill Fabris, Linda Brovsky and Michael Krzankowski and is currently a student of Professor Maitland Peters.

Learn more about Clayton at:

Press release available in .pdf:  Souls of the Soil Michigan Lay Organization Conference


Christie Connolley
Candescent Media
(888) 444-2757