Cora Harvey Armstrong - North Carolina Folk Festival

The presentation of J Pope is funded with support from The Center for Cultural Vibrancy.

Cora Harvey Armstrong performs at the Richmond Folk Festival on 10/8/16. Photo by Pat Jarrett/The Virginia Folklife Program
Newtown, VA

Cora Harvey Armstrong

Cora Harvey Armstrong is a gospel singer, piano player, songwriter, choir director, and bandleader born and raised in King and Queen County, Virginia. Richmond-born musician and producer Bill McGee has described her as “Aretha Franklin on piano, Mahalia Jackson with her voice, and Shirley Caesar with her style.” Armstrong began taking piano lessons at the age of five. She had a gift for playing by ear and soon learned to read music as well. Cora and her sisters Clara and Virginia sang for many years with their mother, the late Eva Elizabeth Harvey, as The Harvey Family. After the death of their parents, the sisters and Cora’s nieces, Clarissa and Ruthy, continue singing and praising God. Cora majored in music at Virginia State University, where she directed the internationally acclaimed VSU Gospel Chorale. For more than forty years she has been a favorite Gospel Music performer at festivals and celebrations around the country and abroad. She has toured and lectured on Gospel Music in Japan and Europe, and is a sought after artist, pianist, psalmist and preacher. Cora will be featured in the “Carolina Gospel Sunday” program on Sunday (9/12) on the Lawn Stage.