Monday, May 1, 2017

John Malveaux: Grant Gershon is the MASTER in Los Angeles MASTER CHORALE. The April 30, 2017 concert was an epic statement of hope and inclusion

Zanaida Robles and Mother

Parents of Zanaida Robles

Zanaida Robles and Friends

John Malveaux of 

Grant Gershon is the MASTER in Los Angeles MASTER CHORALE. The Los Angeles MASTER CHORALE, April 30, 2017 concert WADE IN THE WATER was an epic statement of hope and inclusion that concluded a weekend media blitz of the April 29th 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles 1992 Riots aka Revolt. 
Starting with the theme WADE IN THE WATER sparked by a 2016 performance featuring soprano  Zanaida Robles, Grant Gershon researched and constructed an unparalleled program mixing Negro spirituals,  American folk, European classics and a Korean contemporary piece all connecting current realities. Additionally, Maestron Gershon balanced the program with gender diversity of composers with each song justified in concept and performance.
 The second piece on the program was the reprise of WADE IN THE WATER arranged by Moses Hogan.  Soprano soloist Zanaida Robles received a thunderous ovation and seemingly impromptu hug from Maestro Gershon. After intermission, I was unexpectedly captured by CUM SANCTO SPIRITU (from Gloria) by Korean composer Hyo-won Woo. Although I am not musically literate, my visceral instincts cross-connected the piece with traditional Negro spirituals.
The second half opened with THE WORD WAS GOD by composer and friend Rosephanye Powell based at Auburn University in Alabama. Dr Powell who is also a wonder singer, describe the piece as "a musical-painting of the Creation".
 Mezzo soprano Garineh Avakian was soloist for LIFT EV’RY VOICE and SING, text by James Weldon Johnson with arrangement by Zanaida Robles. The performance was compelling with many standing and shouting in approval. The original poem was first performed by 500 school children in celebration of President Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900.. 
With only mention of a fraction of the songs on the program,the closer was ROCKIN' JERUSALEM arranged by Rollo Dilworth. The near capacity audience was steadfast for encores and Maestro Gershon graciously shared the encores with his new assistant conductor Jenny Wong
 If Maestro Gershon will give me an ear, I will suggest that the roof of Disney Concert Hall will open and the MASTER CHORALE along with the audience will receive the spirit of Abraham Lincoln and James Weldon Johnson if he come back with another program to include Zanaida Robles as soloist for her arrangement of LIFT EV’RY VOICE and SING. See pic1-Zanaida & her mother, pic2- Zanaida’s with both parents, Pic3-Zanaida with fellow choral singers/supporters
Comments by email:

1) Hi John, Thank you for sharing this!  What a meaningful and powerful concert!  I am truly overjoyed that "The Word Was God" was a part of this wonderfully momentous and important event!  Thank you so much, my dear brother!
Dr. Rosephanye Powell
Charles W Barkley Endowed Professor
Auburn University

2) John Malveaux: Please see remark from Rosemarie L. Cook-Glover, President Southeast Symphony Association-oldest African American founded orchestra in the nation:

I agree.  It was a magnificent program.  Rosemarie  [Rosemarie L. Cook-Glover]

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