First Presbyterian Church honors the late Ed White, former Professor of Voice and Director of Opera at the University of Alabama, with a new commissioned chancel opera (based on II Kings, Chapter 5) by Alabama composer, K. Lee Scott. Mr. White and his wife Karen were active members in the music program at First Presbyterian for many years. 


The World Premiere of Naaman was recorded in the First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at 3:00 PM, with composer K. Lee Scott conducting.  Watch it here.

A chancel opera is designed to be performed in a church; the genre is highly specialized, with the most famous being Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” 


Former students of Mr. White’s returned to Tuscaloosa from all across the country to help honor their mentor, having been cast in all of the major roles. Even more singers from the White Studio joined FPC’s Sanctuary Choir in the Chancel Opera Chorus, which was directed by White’s best known protégée Dr. Everett McCorvey. The production also included a chamber orchestra of strings, winds, and percussion.


NAAMAN (pronouncing as Nay-uh-men)


Remembering Ed White

Why Naaman?

More about Ed White

Ed White taught thousands of students during his years as a pedagogue! White began his professional singing career with the Stuttgart Opera in Germany, was a resident artist with the Southern Regional Opera when it opened in the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, and sang as principal artist with opera companies in the United States and Europe. He gave more than 400 performances of 25 major operatic roles as well as singing oratorio and recitals. Although he had a long performing career, Professor White’s passion was teaching. He taught at Florida State University and DePauw University before coming to the University of Alabama in 1975, where he was Professor, Coordinator of the Voice Area, and Director of Opera. Upon his retirement 2001, he was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus and continued to teach privately for 19 years. Long regarded as an outstanding pedagogue, his students achieved national and international successes.

White grew up on a farm in Red Oak, Georgia, where he studied piano, guitar, and clarinet, and in high school was named the Outstanding Clarinetist in the state. He was also a football player who was recruited by Baylor School for Boys in his senior year, and went on to play football at Auburn University and Georgia Tech. After enlisting in the Army from 1954-1956, he attended The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where he received his Bachelor of Music degree with Distinction and Master of Music degree with Performer’s Certificates in Voice and Opera. It is also where he met the love of his life and future wife, Karen.  

White was a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists, Pi Kappa Lambda, and ODK, a life member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and a long-time member and President of Alabama NATS. He served as Governor of Alabama National Opera Association and as Chairman of the AMTA College Division in Voice. He also served First Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa as a deacon, a choir member, and twice as interim choir director.

In his spare time, White was an avid golfer and devoted student of the game. He loved reading about golf, watching golf on television, and could even be found walking the tree-lined fairways with a bucket, looking for lost balls. Golf was also an opportunity for him to gather with friends, to enjoy being outside, and of course to teach his children and friends what he had learned in the decades of practicing, studying, and playing the game he loved.