Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Eric Conway: Philadelphia Tribune Article on Morgan State University Choir's Performance with the Philly Orchestra

Eric Conway writes:

Hello everyone,

If you follow the Morgan State University Choir, you certainly know that we have a big week ahead of us.   We have been asked to sing with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra on this coming weekend November 13-15, 2015 at the Verizon Hall of Kimmel Center for the Arts in downtown Philadelphia, PA.  We will sing a piece by Hannibal Lucumbe entitled "One Land, One River, One People."  If you attended our Spring 2015 concert, you heard the first movement of this piece - "One Land.”  This movement was well-received by most accounts.  The composer only recently completed the last two movements - One River and One People.   Hannibal Lucumbe was originally known as a jazz trumpeter prior to delving into the compositional arena.  His jazz background is heard throughout his compositions. This project is a beautiful rekindling of our relationship with Hannibal, as he likes to simply call himself.  For you see over twenty years ago, Morgan State University Choir performed and recorded his African Portraits with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  His African Portraits has gone on to be one of the most iconic African American compositions in recent times.  This project with the Philadelphia orchestra also includes both Lincoln Univeristy and Delaware State University.  This is very historic for the Philadelphia orchestra to invite three different HBCU’s to participate in this project - two from their community and one from Maryland.  The choir will number 134 voices where Lincoln and Delaware will have 20 voices each, and Morgan will provide 94 voices.  Clearly most of the choir is from Morgan.  If you have the opportunity to drive up to Philadelphia to hear this work, I believe that it will be well-worth your time.  To get a sense of the importance of this project to the orchestra, the young maestro of the orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct this work, who is considered one of the best conductors in the world!  Yesterday, local Philadelphia press provided an article announcing this project.  Please see link below with a PDF of article.  Although there are some popular idioms in the composition, this was still a difficult piece to learn for all of the choirs, as all new music certain challenges.  At the end of day, I firmly believe that we will be musically richer having spent time learning this piece centered around the theme of God’s creation of the world.  We had a very inspiring joint rehearsal last Wednesday, November 4th at Morgan State University where the composer was on site to give his insight.  See photo with all of the conductors and Hannibal posing for a photograph.  Also see link to Philadelphia website for additional information.


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