Wednesday, April 16, 2014 'Washington Performing Arts presents Jessye Norman and others in Marian Anderson tribute'

(Amanda Voisard For the Washington Post) - American soprano Jessye Norman joins in the final musical selection 'America My Country Tis of Thee)' during 'Of Thee We Sing: The Manrian Anderson 75th Anniversary Celebration' on April 12 at the DAR Constitution Hall

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Of course I know you and everyone else will be interested in this. Please give credit to Candace Allen who sent this article to me.


On Easter Sunday, 1939, Marian Anderson sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The concert lasted about half an hour, but the event was front-page news across the country, and more than 75,000 people from all over the States gathered on the Mall to hear it. It was the first time the Lincoln Memorial steps had been used as a place of peaceful protest. Anderson, a classically trained contralto, was singing there because she had been prohibited from singing at DAR Constitution Hall, because she was black — even though black singers had performed at the hall before, until 1935 brought a change in the contract.

The concert has attained iconic status without — like many iconic events — always being fully or accurately remembered. This year, the newly rechristened Washington Performing Arts marked it twice. On the actual anniversary, April 9, the organization hosted an event at the Lincoln Memorial. And on Saturday night, it pulled out the big guns to offer a full-scale concert at Constitution Hall itself. Jessye Norman hosted; the Winans brothers and Dionne Warwick sang; and Ysaye M. Barnwell wrote a new work for the occasion, a straightforward declamatory choral piece called “An Ave for Marian Anderson.” This was performed by an ensemble of 300 singers from choruses all over Washington, led by Stanley J. Thurston, filling the stage and the sides of the hall and resplendent in an array of concert robes and uniforms in a range of colors. 

No comments: