Monday, February 29, 2016

David France, Revolution of Hope: Honored to be the Featured Story TODAY of Metro Boston Newspaper!!

David France, Founder
Revolution of Hope

Revolution of Hope

February 29, 2016

Roxbury Youth Orchestra turns to crowdfunding

The after-school orchestra gives young Boston musicians a shot at learning a string instrument.

Up in the fourth-floor cafeteria at Roxbury’s O’Bryant School Wednesday afternoon, David France had split five young musicians into two groups.

In one corner, two clapped along to a beeping metronome.

In another, three played through a few measures of a tune, again and again, until they got the section just right: the right bow placement, the right notes, the right attitude – that extra oomph on the down-beat when the song bursts into its theme.

“That’s great,” France said when the trio nailed it, his own violin clutched in his left hand as he prepared to play along. “Let’s do it two more times.”

Five days a week for three hours a day, the Roxbury Youth Orchestra meets here, its 20 members – pre-teens to early 20-somethings - passing through three days a week in chunks of a half-dozen or so, practicing their skills on pricey instruments provided for next-to-nothing.

For the privilege, they pay $60 for two terms of instruction. It’s a bargain compared to what most youth musicians’ parents would pay for that much attention from a skilled instructor. But it doesn’t pay for it all – the trips, the snacks, the repairs - and it doesn’t pay France or his rotating team of volunteers more than a small stipend.

And it can’t sustain the program forever. So for the first time since its inception three years ago, France is asking for crowdfunded cash on Indiegogo to keep the program going.

“Orchestra in the Hood,” he calls the campaign. They need $15,000, he said. They’re about half way there.

“We don’t really have much,” said Shirley Wong, a 20-year-old Simmons sophomore who’s been with the program since she was in high school. “We’re not asking for much either. We’re just asking for our teachers, our instruments and our peers.”

The Roxbury Youth Orchestra stands out. There isn’t another program like it in the city, France said. There isn’t enough demand, let alone room in the budget, to teach string instruments in most Boston schools. Many families, in a district where three out of four students qualify as low-income, can’t afford lessons.

“There are opportunities for elementary school, but then they dry up in middle school and high school,” France said. “Allowing someone to pick up a string instrument at 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, that’s almost nonexistent.”

Comment by email:
Thank you so much for your ongoing support!  It really means a lot to us! -David [David France]
Member of the Roxbury Youth Orchestra Nardos Gosaye, 16, practices the violin after school at the John D O'Bryant School of Math and Science in Roxbury. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro
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Minnesota Public Radio: Learning to Listen: William Grant Still, by Andrea Blain & Alison Young, St. Paul, Minnesota, February 29, 2016 (59:35)

William Grant Still
(Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission.)

Studio portrait of composer and conductor William Grant Still (1895 - 1978), the first African-American conductor of a major orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, 1936. 

LISTEN Story Audio
59min 35sec

Andrea Blain

The month of February is Black History Month, and we've been marking that in various ways with our classical music programming. This week on Learning to Listen, we are looking at the life and music of one of the most important African-American composers of classical music, William Grant Still.

Often referred to as "the Dean of African-American Composers," William Grant Still wrote symphonies, opera, chamber music, film scores and ballet. On this week's show, we'll be listening to examples of his works.

Program Playlist

William Grant Still
'The Country Dance' from Miss Sally's Party
Orchestra of the Plymouth Music Series
Philip Brunelle, conductor

William Grant Still
Folk Suite No. 4 (1962)
Sierra Winds

William Grant Still
3rd movement from Symphony No 1: Animato

William Grant Still
Lyric Quartet

William Grant Still
from Highway One, Scene 2
St Olaf Orchestra
Philip Brunelle, conductor
Louise Toppin as Mary; Robert Honeysucker as Bob

William Grant Still
Symphony No. 2 "Song of a New Race"

William Grant Still
La Guiablesse
Berliner Symphoniker
Isaiah Jackson, conductor

John Malveaux: Born Feb. 29 1892, Augusta Savage created 16-foot plaster sculpture "Lift Every Voice and Sing" for 1939 World's Fair; it was destroyed after Fair

Augusta Savage sculpted Lift Every Voice and Sing for the 1939 New York World's Fair.  The musical theme for the Fair was composed by William Grant Still.

John Malveaux of 

Born February 29 1892, Augusta Savage received a commission from the World's Fair and created a 16-foot plaster sculpture called Lift Every Voice and Sing which was destroyed by bulldozers at the close of the fair. See

John Malveaux

On Wednesday, February 24, crossed the one million mark in unique visitors for 2016

Dr. Quintard Taylor

Dr. Quintard Taylor writes:

Sometime on Wednesday, probably when I was in the operating room for eye surgery, (  crossed the one million mark in unique visitors for 2016.  In fact, in the four days since then, the website has seen another 84,000 visitors.

This is the earliest point in the year that the website has reached that level.  In 2015 it reached one million visitors on March 6.  In 2014 it reached that level on July 26.

In addition, we are getting a growing amount of international traffic.  According to Google, the following nations sent visitors to the website just ten minutes ago in this order:

United States

South Africa
United Kingdom
Dominican Republic
South Korea
Sweden continues to grow and you through your efforts have made that happen.  I am confident it will grow more rapidly as we strengthen our internal organization, a process that has already begun with the addition of Chieko Phillips as our first executive director and with the extraordinary work of Jackson Fish Market in redesigning the website.  Ultimately that means we will serve millions more people around the world with our rich and continuously growing content of African American and global African history.

Quintard Taylor

Comment by email:
Thanks Bill, for reposting this and thus spreading the information about  [Dr. Quintard Taylor]

John Malveaux: My last concert of 2016 African American history month generated deep reflections about a power greater than yourself.

John Malveaux of 

My last concert of 2016 African American history month generated deep reflections about a power greater than yourself. Please see cover of music program. 

John Malveaux           

Sunday, February 28, 2016

John Malveaux: Georgia Laster Branch (NANM) 16th Annual Spiritual Concert, Feb. 27, 2016 in Los Angeles was devoted to Jester J. Hairston, American composer

Hansonia Caldwell

Jester Hairston

John Malveaux of 

Georgia Laster Branch (National Association of Negro Musicians) 16th Annual Spiritual Concert on February 27, 2016 in Los Angeles was devoted to Jester Joseph Hairston, an American composer, songwriter, arranger, choral conductor, and actor. Jester Joseph Hairston was a leading expert on Negro spirituals and choral music. James S. Bryant, vice president of Georgia Laster Branch, was program host. 

The program began with a sing along of I WANT JESUS TO WALK WITH ME followed by the Holman Singers (4) delivering WALK TOGETHER CHILDREN and ELIJAH ROCK. Dr. Hansonia Caldwell offered pre-screening comments for the 60 minute documentary “AMEN the life and music of JESTER HAIRSTON”. See The documentary is an invaluable resource to understand the history of African Americans in music, film, and television in the United States and the international appreciation of an original American art form. Dr. Caldwell also offered post screening comments and Q&A. The scholarly ‘edu-taiment’ program concluded with a sing along of Jester Hairston "Amen," from the film Lilies of the Field and a 1963 hit for the Impressions. See pictures of Dr. Caldwell and Jester Hairston.

John Malveaux

John Malveaux: Soprano Latonia Moore will return to the Metropolitan Opera on Nov. 22, 26, Dec. 2, 2016, and April 20, 2017 in Title Role of Aida

Latonia Moore
(Dallas Opera, Kilponen)

John Malveaux of 

Soprano Latonia Moore will return to the Metropolitan Opera on Nov. 22, 26, Dec. 2, 2016, and April 20, 2017. See

Latonio Moore donated performance of two(2) arias during concert to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 2012 in Los Angeles co-produced by MusicUNTOLD and KUSC Classical Radio. The concert  received delayed broadcast on KUSC Radio and 30 day podcast. Please see Latonia Moore singing aria from Aida after off camera introduction by Gail Eichenthal of KUSC Radio 


Susan Fadem: Biography of Cellist and Composer Clovice A. Lewis, Jr., Whose "The Score" Will Be Premiered in Full by University City S.O. March 6, 2016

On Feb. 7, 2015 AfriClassical posted:

Cellist and Composer Clovice A. Lewis, Jr. Interviewed by The Ukiah Daily Journal, Ukiah, California

We subsequently posted on February 9, 2015:

Susan Fadem sends this biography of Clovice A. Lewis, Jr.:


A world premiere in St. Louis, especially by an acclaimed 
California composer whose primary connection here is 
through an enduring friendship, nurtured annually on 
California turf, is not exactly an everyday occurrence.

But thanks to localite Janet Riehl, the four-movement 
“The Score,” envisioned by its California composer, 
Clovice A. Lewis Jr., as the soundtrack to a movie not 
yet in existence, has its first-ever performance, in toto 
and with a full orchestra, on March 6, 2016.

Adding to the momentousness of the occasion, Mr. 
Lewis, a composer/cellist, will perform the cello concerto 
in the fourth movement. For the University City 
Symphony Orchestra (UCSO), this history-making 
synergy was spearheaded by Ms. Riehl, herself a 
multimedia artist and writer, fiddler and also “a country 
girl who roamed the world, then followed her heart” 
back to her Midwestern roots.

Ms. Riehl is a benefactor of Maestro Leon Burke III’s 
current “Black Art Matters” season with the UCSO. Her 
idea to incorporate Mr. Lewis and his composition 
emerged quite spontaneously.

During a recent visit to California, where she once 
studied, created and lived, she visited Mr. Lewis. “She 
always wants to know what I’ve done lately,” he recalls. 
So he played her the computer version of “The Score” 
in its entirety, plus a video of his April 2014 performance 
of the third movement, the only movement to be 
presented by northern California’s Lake County 
Symphony Orchestra.

Her response was memorable. “She was enamored with 
it,” Mr. Lewis recalls. “She jumped up and down and 
said: ‘We hav-v-v-v-ve to hear it in St. Louis.’”

Fas-tforward: Mr. Lewis arrived here nearly two weeks 
ago, in part to participate in the UCSO’s final two weekly 
rehearsals prior to the concert.

For Mr. Lewis, a self-described “creator,” this meant 
leaving behind, though temporarily, not only his work as 
a teacher of Composition and Cello at the Ukiah 
(California) School of Music and first-chair cellist 
with the Ukiah Symphony, but also as Founder, President 
and Principal Instructor at Akolouthia Institute, a private 
California college where he teaches 3D modeling, 
animation, game design, computer programming and app 

Growing up, Mr. Lewis found irresistible the “Top Secret” 
contents of his father’s stashed-away technical manuals. 
His dad was an electronics technician with the U.S. Air 

At age 17, Mr. Lewis wrote his first symphony. Likewise 
an improver of what exists, he early on invented a 
hydrofoil boat. His “Wilbur’s Flight School,” devised 
when he was studying for his pilot’s license in the late 
1980s, is considered the first computer-based training 
program for private pilots.

Through one of Mr. Lewis’ current companies, he 
continues to refine and personally do all the structural 
and electrical engineering for housing units he hopes 
will someday help in worldwide disaster relief. “All the 
software is open-source and not proprietary,” he says. 
“I believe that kind of collaborative inventiveness is 
the wave of the future. It’s beneficial to humanity. “

On the orchestral side of life, Mr. Lewis composes 
regularly. Yet with his nearly a dozen larger pieces, 
“The Score” among them, onetime dreams, always 
similar and spaced over the past 30 years, have 
played a vital role.

In each of these dreams, he’s in a park, hears an 
orchestra in the distance and enters an auditorium. 
There, an orchestra is playing music he likes.

“I always go behind the curtain,” he says. “To get to 
my seat, I walk by the bass players and look over 
the principal bass’ shoulder. I see my name on the 
music.”. Then he sits in the audience and listens.”

Awakening the next morning, Mr. Lewis begins to 
write down, often note for note, what he heard in 
his dream. He now uses a music notation software 
for computers called Notion, by the Presonus 

For “The Score,” more tonal than many of Mr. Lewis 
works because, as a film score, he wanted it to be 
“big, kind of like ‘Star Wars,’” total composition 
time was just six weeks. As Mr. Lewis explains:

First Movement, “Hero’s Journey”: Travels through 
different lands. Music reflects depth of the 

Second Movement, “The King’s Court”: Hear the 
king going through the court. A theme comes in 
and out. It’s regal. After a revolt, the kingdom is 

Third Movement, “Going Home”: The reverse 
journey. Echoes from other movements. Reflective 
and also looks ahead.

Fourth Movement, “Love's Embrace”: Cello 
concerto. The feeling is insular. Hero gets the girl. 
Love and reflection.

Mr. Lewis has no immediate plans to submit “The 
Score” to Hollywood. Far more compelling to him, 
however, is taking schoolchildren on a mission of 

As he did in recent days with youngsters here, he 
shared “The Score” and invited them to illustrate 
their imaginings. Results will be projected during 
the symphony’s world premiere with the UCSO. 
For information, visit, Mr. 
Lewis’ website.
--Susan Fadem 

Comment by email:
Dear Bill, Can't thank you enough. Your passion 
and dedication so deep. This is marvelous! 
Appreciatively, which doesn't begin to cover it,  
Susan Fadem and the University City (Missouri) 
Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Sinfonietta Celebrates Percussive Rhythms This Spring In BYOB: Bring Your Own Beat, William Grant Still, Naperville March 12, Chicago March 14, 2016

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Dr. Dominique-Rene de Lerma. Still's Festive Overture will be performed on this program.

Featuring Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal percussionist Cynthia Yeh;
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Alcides Rodriguez;
plus grand finale percussion play-along with the audience

Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville, March 12
Symphony Center, Chicago, March 14

CHICAGO – Chicago Sinfonietta’s penultimate concert of the season examines the most primal element of music: the beat in BYOB: Bring Your Own Beat, featuring renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal percussionist Cynthia Yeh and Alcides Rodriguez of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Chicago Sinfonietta performs BYOB: Bring Your Own Beat twice: first, in the western suburbs at Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College, Naperville, Saturday, March 12 at 8 pm, and then again in its downtown Chicago home, Symphony Center, Monday, March 14 at 7:30 pm

This rhythmic performance begins fittingly with William Grant Still’s infectious Festive Overture, followed by Ricardo Lorenz’s Maracas Concerto featuring Alcides Rodriguez playing this unusual solo instrument. Sinfonietta Music Director Mei-Ann Chen, a fierce proponent for and mentor of young conductors, then welcomes the talented Roger Kalia, a Project Inclusion Freeman Fellow, to the podium as to tag team on Chadwick’s Symphonic Sketches, with Chen conducting Jubilee and Kalie guest conducting for Noel. The second half kicks off with Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto performed by Cynthia Yeh, and concludes with the audience joining the orchestra on the fast-paced, indigenous sounds of the 4th Movement (Malambo-Final Dance) of Ginastera’s Estancia: Four Dances. To play along, audience members will either bring their own small percussion instruments or create new instruments in the lobby pre-concert and during intermission, which can then be played back in their seats during the concert’s raucous, crowdsourced grand finale led by Maestro Mei-Ann Chen.

Additional pre-concert and intermission activities include the opportunity to take a spin on Chicago artist Dave Ford’s Swing Set Drum Kit installation, an interactive sonic sculpture that invites audience members of all ages to create rhythmic sounds simply through the act of swinging. Additionally, El Jimador tequila will provide patrons (21+) with complimentary tequila tastings.

Title:                Chicago Sinfonietta presents BYOB - Bring Your Own Beat

Dates:    Saturday, March 12 at 8:00 p.m. at Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College
Monday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Orchestra Hall of Symphony Center

Tickets:            Single tickets range from $18-$60 for concerts at Symphony Center and $48-$60 for concerts at Wentz Concert Hall, with special $10 pricing available for students at both concerts. Tickets can be purchased by calling Chicago Sinfonietta at 312.284.1554 or online at


Festive Overture
Pataruco: Concerto for Venezuelan Maracas and Orchestra performed by Alcides Rodriguez
Symphonic Sketches: Jubilee and Noel (Noel guest conducted by Roger Kalia)
Percussion Concerto performed by Cynthia Yeh
Estancia: Four Dances, 4th Movement, Danz final (Malambo-Final Dance) with audience participation

  Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
  Roger Kalia, Project Inclusion Conducting Freeman Fellow and special guest        


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Austin American-Statesman: La Follia Austin Baroque performs violin concerto by Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Afro-French Composer (1745-1799) March 5 & 6

Arion 68093

Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) was an Afro-French Composer, Violinist & Conductor who was France's Best Fencer and Colonel of a Black Legion during the French Revolution.  He is featured at 

Austin, Texas

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016

“Masterworks of Mozart and Haydn.” La Follia Austin Baroque performs the greatest masterworks of Mozart and Haydn, using instruments and performance practices like those used during the composers’ lifetimes. Featured is Mozart’s “Jupiter Symphony” and Haydn’s “Trumpet Concert.” And a special addition to the program is a violin concerto by Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a French composer of African descent who was a contemporary of Mozart’s. 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. March 6. First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive. $10-$30. 512-879-6404.

Comments by email:

1) Thank you Bill [Jean-Claude HALLEY]

2) Dear William Zick, Thank you very much for sharing information about our upcoming concert this weekend. We greatly appreciate your interest and hope to have more interesting concerts to share with you in the future!  Thank you again, and I hope you have a lovely week. Warmly, Meredith  Meredith Ruduski

New Haven Register: New Haven effort aims to buy headstone for Helen Hagan, black pianist and 1912 grad of Yale School of Music [Elizabeth Foxwell raises funds]

Helen Hagan
(By Eugene Hutchinson)

February 26, 2016

By Ed Stannard

NEW HAVEN >> Helen Eugenia Hagan was a Yale School of Music graduate and African-American concert pianist who entertained black American troops in France after World War I, and she deserves better than to lie in an unmarked grave in Evergreen Cemetery.

That’s the opinion of Elizabeth Foxwell, who has edited a book about women of the WWI era, “In Their Own Words,” and who is trying to raise money for a gravestone for Hagan.

“She was the only black performing artist sent to World War I France,” said Foxwell, who also is editor of the Catholic Historical Review at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Hagan traveled with a group led by Henry H. Proctor, an African-American Congregational preacher who ministered to black American troops after the war, according to The trip was requested by Gen. John J. Pershing, Foxwell said.

Hagan apparently was something of a prodigy. Foxwell believes she became the organist at the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church as early as 1901 or 1903. Since she was born in 1891, that would mean she played for the congregation at “about 11” years old.

She then attended Yale, graduating in 1912. (The Music School has always accepted women, although Yale College didn’t until 1969.) Her only surviving composition, the Piano Concerto in C Minor, was “essentially, if you will, her senior thesis” and probably was not her only work, Foxwell said. “She’s cited in various books as having other pieces.” The concerto won her a fellowship.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Harlem Chamber Players Present Their 8th Annual Black History Month Celebration Sat. Feb. 27, 2016 at 4 PM, in memory of Sandra Bland and Kalief Browder

8th Annual
Black History Month Celebration
Saturday, February 27, 2016  
at 4:00 PM

St. Mary's Episcopal Church
521 West 126th Street
New York, NY 10027
Between Broadway and Amsterdam
Click here for directions.
Click here to view and print the flyer.

$15 General Admission
$10 for Students/Seniors
when you buy in advance by Friday 2/26.

$20 General Admission
$15 for Students/Seniors
at the door on the day of the concert.

Chevalier de St. George 
   String Quartet No. 1 in G Major
Samuel Barber Adagio for String Quartet
Nkeiru Okoye Excerpts from 
   Harriet Tubman:   
   When I Crossed That Line to Freedom
John Carter Cantata for Soprano and Piano
This program is dedicated to the memory of Sandra Bland and Kalief Browder.

Janinah Burnett, Soprano
James Davis Jr., Piano
Ashley Horne, Violin
Orlando Wells, Violin
Tia Allen, Viola
Lawrence Zoernig, Cello

This concert is part of the Composers Now Festival.
Composers Now celebrates and honors living composers, the diversity of their voices and the significance of their contributions to the cultural fabric of our society.