Sunday, February 26, 2012 Curtis Richardson Directs Choir in Music of R. Nathaniel Dett & Moses Hogan in Westborough, MA Feb. 26, 4 PM

[Curtis Richardson; Choir Photo from website of The Congregational Church of Westborough, Massachusetts]

R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)  is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works list by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,
GateHouse News Service
Framingham, Massachusetts

Posted Feb 25, 2012
“Every February, Curtis Richardson, choir director and organist at the Congregational Church of Westborough, gathers a joint choir from churches in Westborough, including St. Stephen’s Episcopal, St. Luke the Evangelist, and the Congregational Church, along with his home church, the Pleasant Street Seventh Day Adventist Church in Worcester, for a Black History Month concert. Wesley United Methodist Church in Worcester and Northborough Seventh Day Adventist church also have some of their choir members participate.

“The concert will feature spirituals important during the days of the Underground Railroad, when slaves listened for songs that indicated by their words either the opportunity to flee or the success of those who made it. 'Peter, Go Ring Dem Bells' was sung in the fields when a slave escaped to freedom, according to Richardson.” “Richardson, a native of Trinidad, studied piano at Atlantic Union College in Lancaster after winning a local talent contest in his teens. 'I majored in piano but I always had a love for spirituals. Spirituals are based in pain but founded in hope,' Richardson said.

“'The more I did church choral music, the more gems I came across in spirituals and classical music,' Richardson said. 'I wanted to find more music that showcased African American composers who aren’t recognized.'” “'One of my favorite arrangers of spirituals, Moses Hogan, died young but produced some gems. We’re doing “Abide With Me” and “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel”, both arranged by him.”

“'Nathaniel Dett, another unknown African American composer wrote “Listen to the Lambs” in the early twentieth century,' said Richardson. 'It’s one of the most poignant, moving spirituals I’ve come across. Nathaniel Dett received a bachelor’s in piano from Oberlin College, toured as a concert pianist and was the first black director of the Hampton Institute in Virginia. He introduced spirituals in the classical style.'”

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