Friday, January 25, 2008

Susquehanna University: Winter convocation celebrates legacy

The following are excerpts from an article, published Jan. 25, 2008, on a winter convocation celebrating the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in “The Crusader Online, The Campus Voice of Susquehanna University”:

By Rachel Konopacki
News Editor
“Award-winning writer and composer James McBride was the featured speaker at Susquehanna's second annual winter convocation to celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 21.

McBride's speech, titled 'Our Common Dream,' kicked off the festivities for this daylong celebration at 11 a.m. in Weber Chapel Auditorium.”

“In addition to McBride's and Harris' speeches, musical selections from Susquehanna's brass ensemble, string orchestra and chorale also accompanied the celebration. The brass ensemble, directed by Eric Hinton, assistant professor of music, opened and closed the convocation with works composed by William Grant Still.

'I was looking for music from African American composers, and [Still] is probably one of the most famous,' Eric Hinton said. 'The mood of these pieces seemed to fit the day.'

The ensemble played Still's 'Fanfare for the 99th Fighter Squadron' at the opening and closed the program with the first and third movement, of his piece 'From the Delta.'

The string orchestra, conducted by Jennifer Sacher Wiley, associate professor of music, then performed the second movement from Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson's 'Generations Sinfonietta No. 2.'

Wiley said she was looking for significant works for the string orchestra by African American composers and that Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson had written some beautiful pieces for strings.

The Susquehanna University Chorale also performed a selection arranged by the black composer William L. Dawson titled 'There is a Balm in Gilead.'"

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