Friday, December 19, 2014

Tenor George Shirley & Pianist Louise Toppin Have Recorded A Videmus CD of Spirituals; All Proceeds Support The George Shirley African American Art Song & Operatic Aria Competition

George Shirley at 80: My Time Has Come!
George Shirley, tenor
Louise Toppin, piano
 (c) 2014 Videmus Records

John Malveaux of 

Please see Greetings from the Royal George Shirley.

George Shirley writes:


This summer I joined forces with pianist Louise Toppin, Chair of the Music Department in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Director of the Videmus Foundation, to produce a recording of African American Spirituals in honor of the late Roland Hayes, the first 20th century African American "superstar" in classical music.

Hayes was a pioneer in every sense of the word, overcoming racial barriers at home and abroad on the way to groundbreaking success as a concert and recording artist. His compositions and arrangements of spirituals found parity with the great art songs of European masters, and the integrity of his interpretative gifts secured for him lasting fame as one of the world's most treasured concert artists.

This recording is my tribute to the man who helped launch the career of the great Marian Anderson and those of us who followed in his path. In recording his song cycle, The Life of Christ, I have included the narrative texts he wrote that shed light on the songs that constitute the cycle.

Additional spirituals by other composers of renown complete our homage to a genre of sacred song that today is greatly overshadowed by praisesongs arrayed in popular garb that oft tend to make it difficult to hear, during the delivery of the message, the "still, small voice of God"... I trust that, in the performances of these gems of spiritual genius penned by Hayes and his eminent confrères, you will hear the full range of praise from the shout of joy to the whispered prayer of gratitude, and from the cry of pain to the murmured plea for forgiveness.

The recording can be purchased from VIDEMUS RECORDS, 4710 Regency Drive, Durham NC 27713 or online at 

The cost of the CD is $25.00, and all proceeds go to support the George Shirley African American Art Song & Operatic Aria Competition, information on which can be found on the VIDEMUS webpage. A booklet for the CD is attached below.

I hope you will consider supporting the GS Scholarship Competition, and I wish for you and yours a meaningful Holiday Season and a rewarding New Year.

Yours sincerely,

George I. Shirley
The J. Edgar Maddy Distinguished
University Emeritus Professor of Music (Voice)
University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance

My Time Has Come  (Click Link for CD Booklet)

Comment by email:
Dear Bill, Thank you for posting this information. I trust it will go a long way towards helping us to increase support for the Competition and scholarships associated with it.  With best wishes to you and yours for the Holidays and New Year.  Sincerely,  George  George I. Shirley

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