Sunday, February 7, 2010

New York Times: 'A Long Island Composers’ Alliance Salute to Black History Month' Feb. 14 & 21

[SPOTLIGHT Tara Nova with Paul Hefner. Eirini Vourloumis for The New York Times]
Arts | Long Island
The Melody and Lyrics of Black History
Published: February 5, 2010
“LAST spring Paul Hefner, a bandleader and composer from Floral Park, had the idea of spotlighting Tara Nova, a longtime vocalist with his group, in a concert with a local twist: It would feature music by his colleagues in the Long Island Composers' Alliance, which has more than 50 members. 'I’ll get a number of people to compose just for you,' Mr. Hefner, 55, said he told Ms. Nova, who not only liked the idea, but countered with one of her own. For the lyrics, said the singer, who is black, why not use texts by black poets like Langston Hughes?

“That exchange was the seed for 'A Long Island Composers’ Alliance Salute to Black History Month,' a concert of nearly 20 works to be held on Feb. 21 at the South Nassau Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Freeport. (Its debut will be on Feb. 14, at the Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Manhattan.)” “Ms. Nova — her stage name, and the only one she would reveal — will perform in 12 numbers from an eclectic program of jazz and modern classical music.”

“The concert is dedicated to the memory of Hale Smith, the black composer who died in Freeport in November at age 84. It will include several pieces by Mr. Smith, who was a member of the composers’ alliance and whose music bridged the worlds of classical music and jazz. The Village of Freeport will also honor the late composer: At the Feb. 21 concert, Mayor Andrew Hardwick is scheduled to present Mr. Smith’s widow, Juanita, with a lifetime achievement award for her husband and to declare the day Hale Smith Day. [Hale Smith is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma can be found]

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