Saturday, August 13, 2016

Eric Conway, D.M.A.: Last night, ten members of the Morgan Choir sang at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia behind acclaimed Country Gospel Music icon, Lyle Lovett

Eric Conway, D.M.A. writes on Saturday, August 13, 2016:


Last night, the members of the Morgan Choir sang at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA - the premier outdoor venue in the Washington, DC area.  This venue can seat as many as 7,000, with half of the seats within the amphitheater, under cover from the elements.  Although cover was not needed last night, the concert temperature was 89 degrees fahrenheit - one of the hottest evenings of our summer!  Wolf Trap is a unique entity in being a performing arts venue as well as a national park as designated by Congress!

Ten hand-picked members of the Morgan choir sang behind acclaimed Country Gospel Music icon, Lyle Lovett, four-time grammy winner.  Many may remember that we sang with Lyle at the White House in April of 2015.  Lyle personally requested the Morgan choir knowing that we were in the area.

The Morgan choir had not sung at Wolf Trap in decades.  Our task was to learn as many as seven different Lyle Lovett songs well enough to sing in a full concert on stage after a short pre-rehearsal with the musical director, Matt Rollings.  After sending out the sound-files, we learned and rehearsed his repertoire twice this week, on Monday and yesterday.  The songs were easy for the Morgan group to learn and absorb.   Matt was very impressed with the group and said this was one of the easiest pre-rehearsals he ever had.  After the rehearsal, we had a very tasty supper with the entire company. We went upstairs to the space minutes before the concert see how we would be arranged on stage - no soundcheck!

Last night's concert was a double-bill: Lyle Lovett and his Large Band coupled with fellow grammy-award winner Emmy Lou Harris opening up the concert.  Emmy Lou was  another person whom we had also met at the White House.  Lyle Lovett must be one of the kindest artists we have ever encountered.  He hung out with us for a period during our rehearsal.  He made a point to take photos with us prior to our performance (prior to the sweat).  He did not only take photos with us, but took scores of his own shots as he must be a photography aficionado as well.

I was told that over 5,200 purchased tickets on this hot evening.  I was surprised that both performers gave full programs.  Our 7:30 p.m. show did not conclude until 10:50 p.m., only because the venue had a curfew.  The manager was quite impressed and suggested using the Morgan choir in future shows.   I commented to him that this felt like a revival or old camp meeting with tunes like I’m a Soldier in the Army,  Church, and Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.   

See attached some photos from the evening.  Also see a link to a couple songs sung with Morgan which are quite rousing.

I know that some may be tired of these pseudo-posts, but I know from many replies, that choir supporters appreciate the glimpse into the world of a Morgan choir performance!  Fair Morgan! 


Link to soundfile of choir with Lyle:

Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

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