Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Soprano Gail Robinson-Oturu Featured in 'Choral Society For Preservation Of African American Song Concert' May 28

[Roland Carter and Dr. Gail M. Robinson-Oturu]

The Chattanoogan
posted May 16, 2011
“Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song, under the direction of Roland Carter, will honor the memory of one of its founders and directors, Dr. Lee Norris Mackey, in a concert on Saturday, May 28, 5 p.m., at First Baptist Church at 401 Gateway Dr. The concert will feature Soprano, Gail Robinson-Oturu, and the CCSPAAS performing music of Don Lee White, Rosephanye Powell and Roland Carter.”

“In 1984, Dr. Lee Norris Mackey undertook a research project to investigate the programming performance practices, and recordings of African American spirituals by choirs of Historically Black Colleges, and Universities. He found that there had been a significant decline in the performance of spirituals; thus the need, mission, and name of the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song were affirmed. Dr. Mackey sought and received funding from the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga to formally establish the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song in 1984.

“'The mission of the Society expanded to include art music of African American composers,' said CCSPAAS Director Roland Carter. 'In 1990, the name changed to the Society for the Preservation of African American Song to reflect this expansion.' “Since 1990, Roland Carter, a distinguished conductor, pianist, composer and arranger also, a Howard alumnus and Simmons protégé, has directed CCSPAAS. Dr. Carter is the Ruth S. Holmberg Professor of American Music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.” “He is the immediate past president of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., and serves on the boards of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and the League of American Orchestras.”

“Don Lee White was a very close friend of Dr. Carter, who passed in September of 2010. He was part owner of the publishing company Mar-Vel founded by Dr. Carter in 1978. Mar-Vel was established to promote the music of African Americans composers and traditions.” “Dr. Carter is editing White’s collection of hymns by African American composers spanning nearly 200 years. The Society will perform settings from White's Beatitudes and Commandments.

“Dr. Gail Robinson-Oturu will perform arrangements for voice and piano from Dr. Carter’s soon to be released Collection of Spiritual Art Songs.” “Dr. Oturu is Professor of Voice at Austin Peay State University.” “The Society will also include music by composer Rosephanye Powell. (Dr. Powell’s works are favorites among choirs all over the word. She is professor of music at Auburn University) Selections from Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha will also be featured.

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