Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Eric Conway: The Morgan State University Choir returns home after a solid Tour of the Greater Los Angeles Area

Eric Conway, D.M.A. writes:

Hello Morgan Choir Supporters:

After a short five-day tour of Los Angeles, California, March 17-22, 2016, the Morgan State University Choir returns home safely to campus! The Morgan State University Choir performed throughout the Los Angeles Metropolitan area including Altadena, Inglewood, El Segundo, Oceanside, and Los Angeles proper.  Everything went smoothly on the tour, i.e., no luggage was ever misplaced, and virtually no one got sick.  We had at least one performance a day, with two performances per day on the weekend - 1) at a service in the morning, and 2) a concert in the afternoon.  All who attended our concerts, will forever remember the infectious exuberance and energy of the Morgan ensemble. We sang at the following churches on our tour: Bryant Temple AME, Altadena SDA, Smyrna SDA, Breath of Life SDA, Ward AME, and St. John Missionary Baptist Church.

Given that the Morgan choir had not been to Los Angeles, since the mid-nineties, we wanted to take in as much of the area as possible.  On our second full day in L.A., we travelled to the popular Hollywood Walk of Fame.  With no performances planned for our last day in Los Angeles, as this was a travel day back to Morgan, our bus driver took us to any site that we thought might be of interest to us.  We visited the very famous Staples Center - home of the Lakers and Kobe Bryant. We then drove to the L.A. Classical Music area, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the L.A. Philharmonic; and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, home of the Los Angeles Opera Company.  As  we were walking along the plaza, we noticed a huge Poster that featured former Morgan alum and choir member Issachah Savage who performed the Verdi Requiem with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in late January 2016!  How many schools can boast that they routinely see faces and names of former students from our program on posters and marquises around the country and world?  Not many!  After downtown, we decided to explore Beverly Hills, CA - just to say that we visited there once in our lives.  Imagine the sight of forty-two Morgan State University students, casually walking down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills!  - certainly a sight to behold!  Although the weather was unseasonably cool for March in California with highs in the sixties, the choir members still wanted to spend some time on a beach, so we spent some time on the famous Santa Monica Pier.  

After the pier, we decided to attend a musical birthday celebration of Gospel music legend, Margaret Douroux at Greater New Bethel Baptist Church.  As fate would have it (or God) we were only ten minutes from the airport, and able to sing at the beginning of her 7:30 PM celebration prior to leaving the area.  She was so very touched that we found the time to stop by and give our musical regards. We sang one of her pieces: The Lord Be Praised - See YouTube link to a performance:

She publicly pronounced that of all the choirs in the world, that still, nobody could sing her Lord Be Praised like Morgan.  After only arriving to the airport with an hour and a half prior to our 10:05 departure, the lines at LAX were not long and we were able to make it to the gate with plenty of time to spare.  

After a red-eye flight back to the Eastern Standard time zone, we arrived back to BWI by 6AM.

Once again, music takes the Morgan State University Choir to new and exciting destinations.  Most of the choir had never been to the west coast before this trip.  We continue to be appreciative of the many blessings bestowed upon us, and take our charge very seriously.  Now, on to finish out the semester and prepare for our next big tour, to Cuba!


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