I Wanna Be Ready

Spirituals Arranged by Courtney Carey

The Concert Chorale | Courtney Carey conductor
Justin Michael Austin baritone
Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming soprano
Joseph Joubert piano

Release Date: June 9, 2023
Catalog #: NV6527
Format: Digital
21st Century
Vocal Music

Few things have informed and inspired as much music as humanity’s search for God. Acclaimed baritone, arranger, and conductor Courtney Carey explores the relation between the worldly and the divine on I WANNA BE READY, a set of 12 spirituals arranged for different instrumentations — and each piece packs a punch.

Six of them are songs for a solo voice (soprano or baritone) and piano, and Carey, being a trained vocalist himself, deploys this setup to its fullest effect, allowing for powerful brilliance. The other half are choral pieces, which are furnished with extra layers of depth and vigor by the splendidly expressive Concert Chorale ensemble. Even individually, these spirituals would be remarkable; together, they are a tour de force.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 I Want to Be Ready arr. Courtney Carey Rodari Simpson, tenor; The Concert Chorale | Courtney Carey, conductor 3:18
02 Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Chile arr. Courtney Carey Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming, soprano; Joseph Joubert, piano 4:39
03 My God is So High arr. Courtney Carey The Concert Chorale | Courtney Carey, conductor 2:11
04 I Ain’t Got Weary Yet arr. Courtney Carey Justin Michael Austin, baritone; The Concert Chorale | Courtney Carey, conductor 3:23
05 Oh, De Blin’ Man Stood on the Road an’ Cried arr. Courtney Carey Justin Michael Austin, baritone; Joseph Joubert, piano 4:23
06 Soon I Will Be Done arr. Courtney Carey Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming, soprano; Joseph Joubert, piano 3:10
07 Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel? arr. Courtney Carey Justin Michael Austin, baritone; Joseph Joubert, piano 3:34
08 Calvary arr. Courtney Carey The Concert Chorale | Courtney Carey, conductor 2:52
09 I Wanna Be Ready arr. Courtney Carey Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming, soprano; Joseph Joubert, piano 3:39
10 In Bright Mansions Above arr. Courtney Carey Justin Michael Austin, baritone; Joseph Joubert, piano 4:05
11 Lord, I Want Two Wings arr. Courtney Carey The Concert Chorale | Courtney Carey, conductor 2:02
12 You Can Tell the World arr. Courtney Carey The Concert Chorale | Courtney Carey, conductor 3:19

Thanks to the musicians whose musical talents made this album possible:
Justin Michael Austin, Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming, Joseph Joubert, Olanna Goudeau, Asha Lindsey, Mari-Yan Pringle, Jasmine Thomas, Jeanette Blakeney, Shyanne Clark, Patrice Eaton, Kaleb Hopkins, Taiwan Norris, Lonnie Reed, Rodari Simpson, Charles Carter, Angelo Johnson, and Eliam Ramos

Recorded April-May 2022 at Big Orange Sheep Studios in Brooklyn NY
Session Engineer Chris Benham
Mixing & Mastering Jamey Lamar

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Sullivan

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland

Artist Information

Courtney Carey


A native of Memphis TN, baritone Courtney D. Carey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Morehouse College in Atlanta GA, Master of Music degree in Conducting from Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY, and the Professional Studies Diploma in Voice from Mannes College of Music in New York NY. Carey made his operatic debut in the summer of 2003 as Morales in Bizet’s Carmen and Hermann in Offenbach’s Hoffmans Erazaehlungen with the Komische KammerOper Muenchen in Munich, Germany. Since his debut, Carey has sung principal and supporting roles in Il Tabarro, Gianni Schicchi, Die Zauberfloete, My Fair Lady, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Don Alfonso in Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte. 

Justin Austin

Justin Austin


Praised in Opera News as “a gentle actor and elegant musician” and in The Wall Street Journal for his “mellifluous baritone,” baritone Justin Austin has been performing professionally since the age of four. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, to professional opera singer parents, Austin began his singing career as a boy soprano performing at venues such as Teatro Real, Bregenzer Festspiele, Lincoln Center, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. While working with directors such as Götz Friedrich and Tazewell Thompson, he was able to realize early on his love for music and performance.

Austin made his house debut at the Metropolitan Opera during the 2021-2022 season as Marcellus in the company premiere of Brett Dean’s Hamlet, while also covering the leading role of Charles Blow in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones. Other important performances include George Armstrong in Lynn Nottage’s and Ricky Ian Gordon’s Intimate Apparel at Lincoln Center, Des Moines Metro Opera as Thomas McKeller in Damien Geter and Lila Palmer’s American Apollo, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Oratorio Society of New York.

As a multifaceted musician, Austin performs a wide range of repertoire, from jazz, R&B, and musical theater, to opera and oratorio. He has collaborated with multiple groups and artists such as Aretha Franklin, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Mary J. Blige, Elton John, Lauryn Hill, The Roots, 30 Seconds to Mars, John Cale, Ricky Ian Gordon, Damien Sneed, Kanye West, and jazz legends Reggie Workman, Hugh Masekela, and Wynton Marsalis.

Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming


Jeryl Cunningham-Fleming’s vocal artistry has been heard in more than 10 countries and on four continents. Her versatile and vibrant voice, paired with her fervent advocacy of African American music, makes her a favored soloist for leading ensembles, including the Boys Choir of Harlem and the American Spiritual Ensemble, and prestigious venues, including the United Nations and Lincoln Center. Cunningham-Fleming’s repertoire encompasses opera, oratorio, choral masterworks, jazz, and art song. But, interpretation of the African American spiritual is a high point of her artistry, drawing on her rich heritage. Cunningham-Fleming is a regular soloist and Assistant Director with the American Spiritual Ensemble that performs classic spirituals, opera, jazz, and Broadway tunes highlighting the black experience in concerts in the United States, Europe, and South America.

Joseph Joubert

Joseph Joubert


Joseph Joubert is a hugely versatile musician whose wide-ranging accomplishments and talent as a pianist, arranger, orchestrator, Broadway conductor, and music director have taken him around the world. Most recently Joubert was musical director and orchestrator for Harriet Tubman star Cynthia Erivo in three sold out Tokyo performances. His Broadway orchestration credits include: The Color Purple (Drama Desk Nomination), Disaster, Violet (Drama Desk Nomination), Leap of Faith, and Caroline or Change. He was Musical Director for Berry Gordy’s Motown The Musical and was assistant conductor for Nice Work If You Can Get It and Billy Elliot. He was also a guest conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Christmas Concert featuring Take 6. He appeared in the Metropolitan Opera’s revival of Porgy and Bess as the piano-player Jasbo Brown. Critics have hailed Joubert’s “sensitive and supportive” performances as an accompanist and the “uncommon tonal beauty” of his playing. He has collaborated with such classical singers as Denyce Graves, Esther Hinds, and more and performed with Kathleen Battle at the White House for President Bill Clinton as well as Carnegie Hall.

The Concert Chorale

The Concert Chorale


The Concert Chorale is the official choral ensemble of Courtney’s Stars of Tomorrow. Established in 2014, the Chorale performs a wide range of choral repertoire from early Baroque classics through 21st-century choral literature. The Concert Chorale has performed for enthusiastic audiences at New York’s Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and the Langston Hughes Auditorium at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.


I WANNA BE READY was recorded as a part of Feel the Spirit, a Courtney’s Stars of Tomorrow series dedicated to the study, preservation, and performance of the Negro Spiritual. Feel the Spirit is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State legislature.