Friday, February 20, 2009

South Bend Tribune: “Concert designed to 'Lift Every voice'”

Tribune Staff Writer
“SOUTH BEND — Marvin V. Curtis points to an argument he once got into as one of the reasons he created Feb. 21’s 'Lift Every Voice: Celebrating the African-American Spirit' concert at Indiana University South Bend.” “The dean of IUSB’s Raclin School of the Arts and conductor of the South Bend Symphonic Choir since August, Curtis made education and entertainment his twin goals in designing the program for 'Lift Every Voice.'” “'The bulk of the work will be by African-American composers to show the versatility of the kinds of works black composers compose,' he says. 'People think we compose in one genre, and we don’t. The guest artists are performing, for the most part, works that are in the European classical style of music.'

'No. 1, we are present in American music,' Curtis says about what he hopes the audience learns at Saturday’s concert. 'No. 2, these are people you need to know about. There’s a history there. … When I was in college, we didn’t study black composers. They’re not in the history books. We don’t talk about them. This is a way of talking about a group of people, males and females, who have contributed much to society who are often ignored.' The program includes works by such black composers as William Grant Still, Margaret Bonds, Richard Smallwood, Noble Sissie, Hall Johnson and Moses Hogan. The Symphonic Choir, for example, will perform the Latin choral work 'Ave Maria' by R. Nathaniel Dett, a composer, pianist and educator who, inspired by Antonin Dvorák’s use of folk melodies, combined the spiritual with classical music’s Romantic style in the early 20th century.” [Full Post] [Margaret A. Bonds (1913-1972), R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) and William Grant Still (1895-1978) are profiled at]

No comments: