John Malveaux of
November 13, 2016 Georgia Laster Branch of The National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc (founded 1919) presented their 47th Memorial Concert that included tributes to past branch presidents at St. Bernadette Catholic Church, Los Angeles, Ca. The hallmark and commonality of past presidents is advanced education, teaching, and unyielding energy.
Dr. Hansonia Caldwell directed the Congregational Hymn For All The Saints with Judith Baity at the Organ. Outstanding solo vocal performances included Caro nome from Rigoletto by Lyric-Spinto Soprano Gertrude Bradley, Orange Colored Sky by Jazz vocalist Sylvia Boyd, There Is No Death by Soprano Henrietta Fortson. Judith Baity, Dr. James Calhoun, and Byron Smith were piano accompanist.
Solo organ music by Judith Baity and Dr. James Calhoun contributed to the solemn occasion. Classical pianist (1st place winner of GLB scholarship competition 2011) Jordan Daniels captured full attention with delicate performances of Prelude Op. 11, No 11 & 15 by A. Scriabin and Sonata in D Minor, K. 1 by D Scarlatti.
(Don Lee White) Dlw Chorale lifted the audience from two different standing locations with In The Beauty of Holiness and At The Name of Jesus.
Throughout this touching memorial, I was haunted with the question of survival for GLB despite their great accomplishments over the years. New strategies to attract young membership and continue the work is mandatory for the continuation of GLB.
Additionally, the existing audience for Negro spirituals and classical music is small and diminishing. The fewer than eight principal presenting organizations do not appear to coordinate and enthusiastically support each other for the survival of all.
I am reminded William Grant Still frequently signed new composition with the statement "Together We Rise or Not At All"
Living legend Dr. Albert Mc Neil was present for the first half of the GLB memorial program. Before he left, I spoke to him about January 21, 2012, UCLA Royce Hall when the Albert Mc Neil Jubliee Singers performed with Kathleen Battle “Spirituals from the Underground Railroad”. Dr. Mc Neil mentioned that the same program was being performed this exact evening at the Metropolitan Opera with a different choir. Kathleen Battle was returning to the Met after 20 years away. Dr. McNeil is retired and current emeritus conductor of Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers.
See pic of classical pianist Jordan Daniels after his performance.