Monday, April 7, 2008

Sound and Light Show of William Grant Still's 'And They Lynched Him On A Tree'

[Piano Music By William Grant Still And Other Black Composers; Monica Gaylord, piano; Music & Arts CD 737 (1993)]

Indiana Daily Student
Luminescence Project gives ‘multi- sensory’ show
Performance conveyed lynching with light, audio
Allison Tyra 4/7/2008

A hush came over the crowd as the lights dimmed and the choir, barefoot and clad entirely in black, padded onto the stage in the center of the audience. The singers’ only accessories were small lights in red, white, blue, green or orange hanging on black cord from their necks and the black binders of music they carried.

The IU Luminescence Project’s multi-sensory performance Friday and Saturday in the Musical Arts Center transported the audience into a world where a young black man is lynched by a white mob.

The show began with Harald Svennson’s “I-A-O,” a series of syllables accompanied by a small instrumental section and overlaid with speech sound bytes from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

“We shall overcome,” King’s well-known voice resonated throughout the room, part of a speech he gave June 17, 1966. “Deep in my heart, I believe we shall overcome.”

The music transitioned into the centerpiece of the show, “And They Lynched Him on a Tree,” a song written by black composer William Grant Still and white poet Katherine Garrison Chapin.
Full Post
[William Grant Still is profiled at]

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