The multi-talented Zanaida Robles, DMA candidate in choral music at the USC Thornton School of Music, presented a 10:30am workshop on July 22, 2014 during the NANM national convention in Culver City, Ca. titled "Re-Igniting a Legacy: The Choral Music of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor". According to Zanaida Robles, "Coleridge-Taylor was one of the earliest composers of African descent whose music was revered, not for any Afro-centric novelty. but for being well crafted and wholly original yet distinctly British. With this research on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the compositional voices of past and contemporary composers of African descent might also be more distinctly heard and appreciated, not just for the novel inclusion of spirituals, popular style, and crossover components, but for their genuinely fine craftsmanship and distinctly classical character. To that end, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor can still lead and inspire the American musical community, just as he did a century ago."
Zanaida examined/discussed the construction, style, character, historic value, and contemporary relevance of choral music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Through her research, she hope to accomplish two purposes:
1. To help perpetuate the study and performance of the choral works of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, particularly the small choral works, which in many cases offer great textual illumination, compositional potency, and practical performances applications in both sacred and secular settings.
2. To help facilitate a higher standard for greater diversity in choral music
The NANM workshop included live performances by Zanaida's church choral with Zanida as conductor. Soprano Aleta Braxton, a member of Los Angeles Opera Chorus, sang with the choral. Zanaida also demonstrated, with solo voice, how Samuel Coleridge-Taylor gave unique interpretations to spirituals. Zanaida has a beautiful soprano voice. She is also a member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale as her husband, bass-baritone Vincent Robles, who also sang with the choral during the workshop. Soprano Aleta Braxton, a member of Los Angeles Opera Chorus also sang with the choral during the NANM workshop.
The legendary choral director Dr. Albert J. Neil posed the question of how to access Coleridge-Taylor's music from a convenient comprehensive source. Zanaida acknowledged the current difficulties but shared hope for the future with her forthcoming thesis. Most, if not all, all of the music performed on the program was published by Novello.
The very academic presentation and skillful live performances received a lengthy standing ovation.
Zanaida recognized John Malveaux for introducing her to Coleridge-Taylor during her early undergraduate years at California State University-Long Beach and rehearsing with Professor/pianist Althea Waites.
Zanaida also recognized numerous others in the academic community for offering support and encouragement such as Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma and Charles Kaufman for his film 'Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and his music in America 1900-1912'.
Zanaida invited the audience to attend a music program dedicated to Coleridge-Taylor on Thursday, July 24, 2014. See
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Kelvin Page, who appears in the film Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and his music in America, 1900–1912, was also acknowledged by Zanaida after he identified himself following the presentation. [John Malveaux]