Saturday, April 18, 2015

MELODEON: Soprano Marti Newland performs "From the Depth of the Spirit: A Tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers," Dr. Paul T. Kwami's arrangement of Spirituals

Marti Newland

Fisk Jubilee African American Spirituals with pump organ (8:32) 

Artis Wodehouse

Published on Mar 23, 2015
Soprano Marti Newland performs "From the Depth of the Spirit: A Tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers", Dr. Paul T. Kwami's arrangement of Spirituals taken from the core repertoire of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, of which Dr. Kwami is the current director. Newland is accompanied by Artis Wodehouse who performs on her 1887 Mason & Hamlin Liszt reed pump Organ. The video was taken at a performance on February 27th, 2015 of the chamber group MELODEON that specializes in 19th and early 20th C. American music with an emphasis on Wodehouse's 19th C. American reed pump organs and mid-19th C. pianos.

The spirituals covered in the arrangement are:
My Lord What a Morning
Steal Away
Ain't-a That Good News

Kwami's arrangement of African American Spirituals was commissioned by Artis Wodehouse for MELODEON. The idea for commissioning a work related to the Fisk Jubilee Singers arose from MELODEON performer, soprano Marti Newland's scholarship regarding the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and Wodehouse's 19th C. reed organs. The earliest photos of the Fisk Jubilee Singers (dating from the 1870s, one of which is depicted in the thumbnail of this video) show the group surrounding their original director, Ella Sheppard, who is in turn seated in front of a reed pump organ.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers were the first African American choral groups to popularize African American Spirituals. They toured throughout the US and Europe.

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Bill - thanks once again!  Best, Artis Wodehouse – The Complexities of Tania León

Tania Justina León (b. 1943) 
has a web site at 
and is featured at

"I am of the mind that I am a composer.  I am not a Black composer.  I am not a woman composer.  I am not a Caribbean composer." [Tania León in  interview with Maria Hinojosa, Latino USA]

By Michael Simon Johnson

April 17, 2015

Composers like Tania León infuse their work with caribbean instruments, Yoruba rhythms, and a-tonal piano work—elements that make their music a much more global experience.

Tania’s compositions and operas have been performed internationally and they’ve have received countless awards from places like the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and ASCAP. The Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated León was the first musical director and a founding member of Arthur Mitchell’s famous Dance Theatre of Harlem and has been a visiting professor at Yale, the University of Michigan and others.

And at 71 years-old there is no sign of her slowing down. She recently assembled a month-long music festival called Composers Now featuring New York-based composers of all kinds. Plus she is in the process of writing an opera with Harvard African-American Studies professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. about the Little Rock Nine–the group of black students who bravely enrolled at a white high school in Arkansas in the 1950’s.

Born in Havana in the 1943, Tania León was classically trained, but Afro-Cuban music and other Cuban traditions, as well as a variety of postmodern musical forms have always found a way into her unique style. She sat down with Maria Hinojosa to talk about her life and her work.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Eric Conway: Morgan State University Choir will present our Spring Concert on May 3, 2015 at 4 PM in Gilliam Concert Hall of Murphy Fine Arts Center

Eric Conway, D.M.A. writes:

The Morgan State University Choir will present our Spring Concert on May 3, 2015 at 4 PM in the Gilliam Concert Hall of the Murphy Fine Arts Center. Feel free to print and/or email the attached flyer and distribute to your friends and family. Thank you.

EC Black in Time: Overtown-born pianist James Ford reunites with mentor Ruth Greenfield [By Dorothy Jenkins Fields, PhD]

Overtown resident James Ford plays the piano. Above him is a portrait of his teacher, mentor and friend, Ruth Greenfield. Greenfied’s husband, Arnold, painted the portrait in 1990. Charles Greenfield

Read more here:

[“Ruth Greenfield sits beside Jim Ford, her first black piano student, in this 1997 photo.” MIAMI HERALD File]

On April 14, 2012 AfriClassical posted:


The hand written invitation from Ruth Greenfield, founder of Miami’s Fine Arts Conservatory, was a reminder of bygone days. She and her late husband, Arnold, often showcased performing artists to community groups at their home. A mystery guest at the March 2015 soiree made it another special evening.
Greenfield presented a musical feast of classical composers including Bach, Mozart, Telemann, Paulsson, Chopin, Pergolessi, Bartok and Gershwin. The selections were performed by eminent artists GianCarlo Calluci, David Goldberger, Brian Neal, Karen Neal, Julia Jakkel, Joseph Talleda, Wayne Bumpers and Adam Chefitz. A monologue was delivered by Aidan Neal while waiting for the mystery artist.
“When one puts a little effort in listening to intricate music with all of one's being, one discovers a whole new world of sound which in turn opens a new view of the world around us,” mused Brian Neal, director of Instrumental Studies at Miami Dade College, Kendall campus. “‘Classical music’ can be found everywhere and there is true enjoyment in being able to hear it in the most surprising places.”
As afternoon faded into evening, a slight chill in the air invigorated the group of nearly 65. Some are retired and others continue in the workforce. Old timers and newcomers, this collective represented Miami’s current diverse community as well as the community once divided by race.

Read more here:

Everyone listened when Greenfield introduced her mystery guest: James Ford, a concert pianist and the son of one of her longtime friends, the late Mary I. Ford Williams. Born in Miami’s Colored Town, now known as Overtown, James by age 13 showed exceptional talent as a pianist. He qualified, was accepted, and attended a summer program in New York at the Juilliard School of Music while his mother studied for a master’s degree at Columbia University in New York. Returning to Miami, his talent was not enough for him to be accepted locally for advanced study. Years later, when the schools integrated, he graduated with honors from the University of Miami.
Traveling to Paris in 1949, Greenfield experienced racial integration. She learned that sharing one’s culture can enrich all. A white woman born in Key West, she became a musician, teacher and activist for social change. Ford Willliams, a black woman born in Florence, South Carolina, was an elementary school principal and mother seeking opportunities to fuel her talented son’s passion for music advancing his piano skills. He was already composing piano sonatas, while practicing those of Mozart and Beethoven.
Greenfield met the Fords in 1951. After reading in the Miami Times about the opening of the Fine Arts Conservatory Ford Williams enrolled her son. The conservatory was originally located in an Overtown business, one block north of the Historic Lyric Theater on Northwest Second Avenue and 10th Street. It was Florida’s sole integrated school of music and the creative arts. The construction of Interstate 95 displaced Overtown’s businesses and residents causing the population to shift to the suburbs. During that time, the school relocated to Liberty City.
Before 1964, black people and white people were separated by custom and law in every phase of life. Miami’s Colored Town music, dance and art teachers offered private lessons in their homes.
The Fine Arts Conservatory was the first and only pioneer private organization to centralize the arts and provide instruction by university faculty. In the midst of racial segregation, the conservatory offered small group and private lessons in music, art, dance, drama and music theory at minimal costs to children of all races, mindful only of their abilities and interests in the arts.
The saga of the conservatory’s 25-year existence was briefly shared with the audience before dinner. At evening’s end, Greenfield — herself an accomplished pianist — played popular melodies and James Ford played themes and variations. She is 91 and he is 77. Both continue to play with enthusiasm and vigor.

Read more here:


[Dorothy Jenkins Fields, PhD, is a historian and founder of the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida Inc. Send feedback to]

Read more here:

John Malveaux: Barbara Sherrill now lives in Atlanta but her YouTube piano recording of AMAZING GRACE has provided inspiration to me.

"Amazing Grace " Played by Barbara G. Sherrill

John Malveaux of 

On February 13, 2003, I began a new journey in concert production with "An Evening of Grace & Style".  A Black History Month event featuring African Americans in Opera and Classical Music. Composer and pianist Barbara Sherrill was instrumental in the preparation and presentation of the program. Additionally, the Barbara Sherrill Chorale was the featured and closing attraction.
Currently, i am organizing a FREE concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary of END of CIVIL WAR & 13th Amendment ENDING SLAVERY on Sunday May 24, 2015 at Liberty Hall-Hollywood Forest Lawn, Los Angeles with support from Employee Community Fund of the Boeing Company, Colburn Foundation, and Rainey/Pierson Property Management.
Barbara Sherrill now lives in Atlanta but her You Tube piano recording of AMAZING GRACE has provided inspiration to me. Additionally, Soprano Sheila Judson was member of Barbara Sherrill Chorale on Febrary 13, 2003. On May 24, 2015, Sheila will sing an aria from the opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line To Freedom with pianist Polli Chambers- Salazar. Please listen to Barbara Sherrill playing AMAZING GRACE 
John Malveaux

Eric Conway, D.M.A.: Classical Movements: Morgan Choir Sings with Aretha Franklin at the White House!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Adolphus C. Hailstork, Composer Born April 17, 1941, is A Guest Composer at SEAAC Choral Music Festival April 25, 2015, Daytona Beach, Florida

Dr. Hailstork is among the most-recorded Composers of African Descent, and his vocal and instrumental works are also among the most-frequently performed. Among his most prominent works is Epitaph For A Man Who Dreamed, In Memoriam: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).  It can be found on a Cedille Records disc, performed by the Chicago Sinfonietta, under the direction of Paul Freeman, Conductor, Cedille 90000 061 (2002).  Dr. Hailstork is a strong advocate of music education in public schools.  He credits his education in the public schools of Albany, New York with cultivating his musical aptitude and interests.  He told us in a 2010 interview:

"Early on, I took a Music Aptitude Exam given by the school system in New York State where I grew up.” “Apparently they thought I had some aptitude for music. If you do, you wind up getting free instrumental lessons. I started out on the violin by the Fourth Grade, and then switched to Piano and Organ, sang in the Choirs, and that was all my early schooling."

In 2000, Prof. Hailstork assumed his present position at Old Dominion University, where he is an Eminent Scholar as well. In the interview he was asked what courses he teaches.  He replied that he alternates between teaching Orchestration and Counterpoint, and also has four Composition students.

Comment by email:
Thanks, Bill.  Best wishes.  Adolphus  [Adolphus C. Hailstork]

John Malveaux: Margaret Madden shared this story: The Washington Post: 150 years after Appomattox, a startling discovery [Hannah Reynolds died free]

The Washington Post: "The Rev. Alfred L. Jones III poses April 1 in front of the reconstructed slave quarters behind the McLean House on the grounds of Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Appomattox, Va. Jones delivered the eulogy for former slave Hannah Reynolds, whose death will be remembered during the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s end. (Steve Helber/AP)"

The Washington Post: "The hearse heads into the sunset."

John Malveaux of 

Margaret Madden, City of Long Beach Neighborhood Resource Center, shared this story with Long Beach Central Area Association. See

MusicUNTOLD is the event production arm of LBCAA and MusicUNTOLD has scheduled a Free FREEDOM CONCERT to celebrate the 150th anniversary of END of CIVIL WAR and 13th Amendment ABOLISH SLAVERY on May 24, 2015 at Hall of Liberty-Hollywood Forest Lawn with preconcert lecture at 5:00PM and concert at 6:00PM. The concert is supported by Employee Community Fund of the Boeing Company, Colburn Foundation, and Rainey/Pierson Property Management. See attachment
John Malveaux

Kevin Scott conducts Maybrook Wind Ensemble in Spring 2015 Concert, Friday, April 24, 2015 at 7 PM, Maybrook Senior Center, Maybrook, NY

Kevin Scott, Director
Maybrook Wind Ensemble

Kevin Scott writes:

Hello, folks!
I hope everyone is enjoying the spring weather, and looking forward to the trees blooming once again!

Since our first concert in December, the Maybrook Wind Ensemble has grown a bit, and we're still in search of more players! But right now we're all geared up to do our first spring concert, which will take place a week from this Friday, April 24th at 7:00 p.m at the Maybrook Senior Center, located in the village's government center and park off of Route 208, about two miles south of I-84.
Our program? Quite a nice selection, as our featured offering will be Leonard Bernstein's Three Dance Episodes from the hit musical "On the Town," which is currently playing on Broadway! We're only three years away when the world will be celebrating Lenny's 100th birthday (can you imagine if he lived that long?), so if we're around, we'll play some more of his music!

Also on the bill is Mendelssohn's Ruy Blas Overture and Ravel's Pavane for a Dead Princess, as well as select marches by Beethoven, Sousa, Fillmore, Hall and Gregorio Diaz, the last composer recently becoming known for a re-discovery of his Third Army March, composed during World War 2 when Mr. Diaz served as the bandmaster of that division, and dedicated the march to its then-commanding officer, General George S. Patton, Jr. It has since made its rounds with many community bands across the nation.

In addition to the band selections, the flute section of the ensemble will perform two selections - an arrangement of "Duke" Ellington's "Satin Doll", and a suite from Rodgers & Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music," in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the release of the film.

The concert is free, with a goodwill offering to help raise funds for the ensemble to procure their own musical supplies, including percussion.

So if you are able to attend, please come on down - or up - and join us. There will be a reception after the concert.
Thanks much, and stay tuned for many good things to come.
Kevin Scott
Director, Maybrook Wind Ensemble

Roy F. Eaton: The link to hear and see Roy Eaton Monday, April 20, 2015 at 7 PM (EDT) at

Roy Eaton

On April 13, 2015 AfriClassical posted:

Roy F. Eaton writes:

Here is the link to hear and see Roy on the internet.  Monday, April 20 at 7 PM (EDT).