Sunday, December 31, 2017

NOBLE Expresses Concern Over Recent Questionable Use of Force Applications by Law Enforcement

For Immediate Release                                                          
December 31, 2017                                                                                    
 On the Eve of a New Year The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Expresses Concern Over Recent Questionable Use of Force Applications by Law Enforcement

[Alexandria, VA] On the eve of a New Year, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) issues a call for greater accountability and training amongst law enforcement in the use of force against citizens.

Just in this past week, we have seen a tragic officer-related death of an unarmed man, Andrew Finch, in his home in Wichita, Kansas and serious officer-related injuries sustained by Ulysses Wilkerson, a teenager in Troy, Alabama, and several other similar recent Use of Force Applications by Law Enforcement across this country. People of all walks of life across this nation are concerned about the questionable use of force applications in these cases.

Though these both are ongoing investigations, the images of the moments prior to Mr. Finch's death and the bloody photos of Ulysses Wilkerson's trauma to the brain and face initially suggest questionable use of force applications by law enforcement officers. NOBLE is committed to building an inclusive community-oriented police and law enforcement culture that protects and does not victimize those it serves.

In 2018, we must be vigilant to investigate and require greater accountability and training when questionable uses of force by law enforcement result in harmful and deadly consequences for all citizens. These recent incidents further demonstrate the need for mandatory national standards, a national Use of Force Data Base and Criminal Justice reform, stated Clarence E. Cox, III National President of NOBLE.


About the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives 
Since 1976, The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has served as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action. NOBLE represents over 3,000 members internationally, who are primarily African-American chief executive officers of law enforcement agencies at federal, state, county and municipal levels, other law enforcement administrators, and criminal justice practitioners. For more information, visit


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sergio Mims: Chineke! The story of a concert that went viral

Kevin John Edusei

Jeanine De Bique

Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Sergio A. Mims forwards this link:

The Proms 2017 season is over, but the concerts live on! On our Facebook page, a highlights clip of the Chineke! Prom is still clocking up huge numbers – an astonishing 2.6m views and 57,000 shares as of 1 October 2017, making it the social-media success of the season.

And our second most-viewed and shared clip on Facebook? Also from the Chineke! Prom – Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique's stunning performance of 'Da tempeste il legno infranto' from Handel's Julius Caesar.

Truly, Prom 62, conducted by Kevin John Edusei, was the breakout Prom of the festival and below are a few reasons why.


Chineke! formed just two years ago

Yes, it really was as recently as 2015 that the Chineke! Foundation was established by double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE to provide, in the foundation's words, "career opportunities to young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) classical musicians in the UK and Europe".

Its flagship ensemble is the Chineke! orchestra and that it could go from forming to debuting at the Proms in such a short period of time captured imaginations – within classical music and far, far beyond.

In their ranks is a superstar youngster

Not every musician, however good they are, is sprinkled with stardust but cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason certainly is. He's gone from being awarded the Marguerite Swan Memorial Prize for the highest marks in the UK for Grade 8 cello (aged 9), to winning BBC Young Musician 2016, to inking a deal with Decca, to making his Proms debut with Chineke!, and he's still only 18. And what a debut performance he gave us – superb accounts of Dvořák's fabulous Rondo (above) and David Popper's Hungarian Rhapsody.


established writing talent that deserves a bigger audience

In a 2015 Guardian article, Tom Service, who presents for Radio 3, declared George Walker to be "the great American composer you've never heard of". And this neglect was despite the fact that Walker was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer for music.

In the internet age, his work is coming into better and better focus and that's long-overdue. Walker is 95 and this performance of his best-known piece, Lyric for Strings – written when he was 24 – marked his Proms debut. 

John Malveaux: The Green Book: The Black Travelers’ Guide to Jim Crow America

Cover of the 1940 edition of the Green Book. (Credit: New York Public Library Collections)

John Malveaux of 
sends this link:

During the height of segregation and Jim Crow, many African Americans owned copies of the “Negro Motorist Green Book,” a guide that informed travelers of the safest places to eat, sleep or get a haircut when on the open road. The book was first published in 1936 by a Harlem postal worker, and it continued to be released in updated and expanded editions until the mid-1960s and the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

“There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”

That was how the authors of the “Negro Motorist Green Book” ended the introduction to their 1948 edition. In the pages that followed, they provided a rundown of hotels, guest houses, service stations, drug stores, taverns, barber shops and restaurants that were known to be safe ports of call for African American travelers. The “Green Book” listed establishments in segregationist strongholds such as Alabama and Mississippi, but its reach also extended from Connecticut to California—any place where its readers might face prejudice or danger because of their skin color. With Jim Crow still looming over much of the country, a motto on the guide’s cover also doubled as a warning: “Carry your Green Book with you—You may need it.”

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Rick Robinson: CutTime Simfonica at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church Sunday January 21 at 3p-4:30; Eliot Heaton is our featured fiddler; tickets $10 in advance

Rick with former student Candice Smith

 Soprano Alexandra Oikonomo with
Conductor Rick Robinson

CutTime Simfonica after TEDx Detroit 2016

Rick Robinson writes:

December 28, 2017

Hello Friends,      

Happy Holidays Friends!

I hope you're having a warm holiday season! If you're too busy to read this, just skip to the bottom for our next show, the new video and please support us. 

Christmas is always a favorite time of concerts for classical musicians. CutTime Simfonica has a new holidays program we tried out for our Noel Night set at La Palma Mediterranean. We learned that baroque music with soft sleighbells is a big winner!

I want to extend my highest gratitude to the many musicians, administrators, teachers, new fans and supporters we turned on in 2017! Things slowly began taking off with larger, private projects and special events including a soon-to-be-announced recording release.

CutTime Players returned to Greater Grace Temple for a new set of symphonic Christmas songs alternating with high gospel fireworks. I even got work with a young student I knew from my volunteer work at Detroit Schools of the Arts years ago. We're so honored to support their celebration into the future.

Last week, I was called at noon Monday asking for a CutTime concert in their office noon TUESDAY, to honor a special guest for our new client at Hutzel Hospital! I said, "No problem." We're getting many calls to play lunch hours at offices, evening corporate events, gallery events and small house concerts. It doesn't put us further out in the general public, but it often pays well and plants more seeds.

The week before, I contracted and conducted an orchestra for a society Christmas gala with two solo pianists (Bach & Gershwin concertos), a rising opera star (3 arias) and the CutTime Players. We had a marvelous time.

I was contracted to play bass in some parts of Schubert Mass in G and the cello quintet. The student choir at Dearborn HS immediately loved the power, shaping and professionalism of the string quintet so much, I wrote strongly how it might've changed her life.

Even Christmas Eve, sight-reading a double Christmas mass (9p & midnight) in another string quintet, the deepest context for Grieg, Holst, the carols, the creation mass and all the church musicians, built tremendously upon the occasion! Life is so beautiful with such music in it.

Coming up is an annual chamber music party at a dear friend's home. With four rooms playing quartets simultaneously (at a low level), it sounds less like a music school than an orgy of Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert and my favorite, Brahms! That's the peak of my holiday the last 15 years.

Finally, I want to add what a triple pleasure it's been to sub into the Ann Arbor and Lansing Symphony Orchestras. Besides getting to play symphonies again, it's the best way to recruit new musicians for casual classical events across the region, to make a difference plugging into the full symphonic machine, and to get paid for it too, even if not DSO wages.

Also, it sharpens my sense of community service, to these musicians as well as the general public. We just need sponsors and donors for a local raw classical series. In 2018 we may find the resources to once again scale up our impactful, free, public events. Please help us with contacts curious about effective commercial classical in clubs and for new audience development and community outreach services that matter.

To that end, we have a new video from our Open Streets show in October. It shows the promise of our new partnerships with Urban Requiem Project and spoken word.

Come see CutTime Simfonica at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church Sunday January 21 at 3p-4:30. MOT Concertmaster Eliot Heaton is our featured fiddler and tickets are only $10 each in advance. See the Facebook event page here.

CutTime Simfonica returns to Cleveland April 17-19 with stellar shows for the Rocky River Senior Center featuring Cleveland Institute of Music alum (like me).

With new tax changes coming at us, now is the best time in the foreseeable future to support the artistic innovations of CutTime® via Fractured Atlas. Have a very Happy New Years and thank you for supporting the arts!

- Rick Robinson (Mr. CutTime)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Conductors Guild National Conference at the Fort Worth Sheraton, Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, January 11th to Saturday, January 13th, 2018

Attend the Conductors Guild National Conference at the Fort Worth Sheraton, Fort Worth, TX, starting on Thursday, January 11th, and concluding on Saturday, January 13th, 2018.


John Malveaux: The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862

John Malveaux of 

Many of you who live or grew up in Black communities in the United States have probably heard of "Watch Night Services," the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year's Eve. The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year. Some folks come to church first, before going out to celebrate. For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event.

Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious service — made a bit more Afro centric because that's what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the Black Church. Still, it seemed that predominately White Christian churches did not include Watch Night services on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs. In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year's Eve.
However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African American congregations.
The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve." On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God.
Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.
It's been 144 years since that first Freedom's Eve and many of us were never taught the African American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate "how we got over".
PS- Pass this information on so we can educate more of our family and friends!

John Malveaux: Ballet dancer Carmen De Lavallade is a recipient of 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

John Malveaux and Carmen De Lavallade

John Malveaux of 

Ballet dancer Carmen De Lavallade is a recipient of 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors. Some years ago, Carmen and i discussed the career of Misty Copeland. Very humble great LADY.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

John Malveaux: 2017 Senior Winner, Annelle Gregory, performing with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra [YouTube (17:40)]

John Malveaux of 

Annelle Gregory-2017 winner

Published on Feb 19, 2017

Annelle Gregory, Violin

Sibelius - Violin Concerto in D Minor, Mvt. I - Allegro Moderato
2017 Sphinx Competition Senior Division 1st Place Laureate

Thomas Wilkins - Conductor

John Malveaux: Symphony Nova Scotia: Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser joins Symphony Nova Scotia as Artist in Residence and Community Ambassador

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser

Artist in Residence and Community Ambassador

John Malveaux of 

Nova Scotia Symphony appointee 

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser joins Symphony Nova Scotia as Artist in Residence and Community Ambassador for the 2017/18 season.

Daniel has worked with some of the foremost conductors of this generation; among them are Mark Elder, Clark Rundell, Baldur Bronnimann, Arthur Post, and Kenneth Kiesler. He is currently Assistant Conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in Ontario, Canada. Previous to his appointment in Kitchener-Waterloo, he was Assistant and then Associate Conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Monday, December 25, 2017

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: The Finish Line! (2:58)

Aaron P. Dworkin writes:

Greetings and welcome to this week's episode of AaronAsk, your weekly mentoring session to live a fulfilling creative life!  This week's episode is titled, The Finish Line!  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

Comment by email:

Thanks so much Bill and Hapoy Holidays!!

Aaron [Aaron P. Dworkin]

John Malveaux: The New Yorker: Zanaida Robles conducts at Midnight Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles

Zanaida Robles, conducting at the Midnight Mission. She welcomes friendly interruptions from the audience.
Photograph by David Black for The New Yorker

John Malveaux of 

Zanaida Robles conducts at Midnight Mission 

The New Yorker

Handel’s “Messiah,” on Skid Row

A visionary Los Angeles violinist makes music with the homeless.

By Alex Ross

Three years ago, Brian Palmer, a forty-three-year-old native of Beaumont, California, was a homeless man struggling to overcome heroin addiction. All he owned was a bag containing some clothes, a blanket, and a pillow. He sought assistance at a recovery center at the heart of Skid Row, the dismayingly large tent city in downtown Los Angeles. One activity that helped him through the skittish early period of sobriety was singing. As a kid, he dreamed of becoming a professional singer; he was a member of the church choir and appeared in musicals at school. In 2015, he encountered the Urban Voices Project, a choir made up of Skid Row residents and allies. This led him to Street Symphony, a group of professional musicians, mostly from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the L.A. Master Chorale, which works with homeless, mentally ill, and incarcerated populations. In February, Palmer began taking voice lessons from Scott Graff, a member of the Master Chorale and of the Street Symphony Chamber Singers. Graff told me, “I gave Brian some tips on vocal technique, and he taught me life lessons. I got the better end of the deal.”

A few days after Thanksgiving, Palmer sang in a musical workshop at the Midnight Mission, a charitable institution on Skid Row. He had been studying “The People That Walked in Darkness,” a bass aria from Handel’s “Messiah.” In ten days’ time, he would sing it with Street Symphony, which presents an abridged “Messiah” at Midnight each year. At the workshop, five string players accompanied him; a few dozen members of the Skid Row community were in attendance. Before performing, Palmer shared with the audience some thoughts about the music. A tall man with shaggy hair and a drawling voice, he was dressed in jeans and a “Rule Your Own Destiny” T-shirt. He told his story with the practiced directness of someone who has attended many twelve-step meetings. “When I came here, three years ago, I didn’t know where my life was going to take me,” he said. “I just knew that I needed to change, and that I needed help. When I was walking through my life in addiction, and the darkness and the hell I had created for myself, it was like the phoenix coming out of the darkness and seeing the light.”

Palmer then sang the aria. The text, from the book of Isaiah, is as follows: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Handel’s “Messiah” is such a fixture of the repertory that it takes some effort to focus on the words and register what they mean. In that respect, Palmer surpassed any singer I have heard. He performed well for one who has been studying vocal technique for less than a year, and in the lower end of his range he had a round, full tone that can’t be taught. More important, he made the text sound as though it had been taken from his own life.

The first performance of “Messiah,” in Dublin, in 1742, was, according to a contemporary announcement, presented “for the Relief of the Prisoners in the several Gaols.” Proceeds from the première helped the Charitable Musical Society to free a hundred and forty-two people from debtors’ prison. Street Symphony’s “Messiah” therefore comes closer to the original spirit of the piece than most modern versions do. The first “Messiah” attracted a “most Grand, Polite and crowded Audience”; the performances at the Midnight Mission draw Skid Row residents, charitable workers, benefactors, and musicians’ friends. People may start dancing during the “Hallelujah” Chorus or shouting out encouragement during the arias. Zanaida Robles, who has been conducting the Street Symphony “Messiah” since 2015, welcomes such friendly interruptions, often turning around to acknowledge them.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Eric Conway: See attached YouTube links to our Christmas presentation

Eric Conway writes:

Happy Holidays everyone!

Many of you know that the Morgan State University choir presented our 2017 Christmas concert in Morgan's Gilliam Concert Hall on Sunday, December 10, 2017, to  close to a near-capacity audience!

We always record our performances for an official record of the event as well as for any supporters who might want to purchase a recording of the concert.

Just in case you were not able to attend our concert or attended and would like to listen to the concert again, -  see attached YouTube links to our Christmas presentation.  

May you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2018!

All my best,

1st half of Morgan’s 2017 Christmas Concert 

2nd half of Morgan’s 2017 Christmas Concert 

Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

Afro-French Composer, Violinist & Conductor Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges Was Born on December 25, 1745 on Guadeloupe

Violin Concertos, Op. 5, Nos. 1 & 2;
Op. 3, No. 1; Op. 8, No. 9
Bernard Thomas Chamber Orchestra
Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Violin 
Arion 68093 (1990)

Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) was an Afro-French composer, violinist and conductor as well as France's best fencer and Colonel of a Black Legion in the French Revolution.

His biography can be found at

Saint-Georges was born on a Caribbean plantation where his mother was a slave owned by his father.  His aristocratic education at a fencing academy in France led him to become a champion fencer as a young man.  He soon began playing the violin.  Before long he was a concert master, and he began composing.  

Many CDs of his music have been recorded, mainly in Europe but also in the United States and Canada.  A DVD of the life of Saint-Georges has been produced in Canada.

OperaCréole founders, Givonna and Aria, in a Christmas feature which will air on the 10pm news on WWL-TV Channel 4

OperaCréole writes:
TONIGHT! Thanh Truong, of WWL-TV Channel 4, has included OperaCréole founders,
Givonna and A on WWL-TVria, in a Christmas feature which will air on the 10pm news.
We were filmed and interviewed at our church, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Parish in the Bywater,
where we are part of the Music Ministry- Givonna directs the small choir at 9:30 Mass, and Aria is the Cantor.
Come join us for Christmas!
One of OperaCréole's pianists, Ronald Joseph, and Seelos' organist, Claudia D'Aquin were also filmed.
Tune in 10pm WWL-TV News Channel 4.
I think you can also watch on your phone through the WWL-TV app.
​Many blessings to you for the Holidays!
Thank you for all your support in 2017

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

Godwin Sadoh: Here is the Pre-World Premiere of one of my new compositions, Ola Ilu for Bassoon Solo (YouTube 4:05)

Midori Samson

Godwin Sadoh

Godwin Sadoh writes:

Dear Bill,

Here is the Pre-World Premiere of one of my new compositions, Ola Ilu for Bassoon Solo:

Godwin. Long Beach Chorale Sings William Grant Still's "Glad Christmas Bells" and "Shout! Shout! Tell the Story"

William Grant Still (1895-1978)

There are all kinds of Christmas concerts.

And the other evening at Grace First Presbyterian Church, Long Beach Chorale once again served up their specialty, a “Festival of Carols” that acknowledged tradition while exploring interesting corners of the contemporary repertoire.

Artistic director Eliza Rubenstein has long been a champion of new music, and she has a particular gift for structuring a program of new and interesting compositions and arrangements that don’t scare anyone off. If this program was, to quote an introductory speaker, “mostly things you’ve never heard before,” the audience still came away with that warm fuzzy Christmas feeling.


William Grant Still, the other big name on the program, was a jazz arranger as well as a composer, and it showed in the sweet, simple “Glad Christmas Bells” as well as the spiritual-like “Shout! Shout! Tell the Story,” from his “Christmas in the Western World.”

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sergio Mims: Kevin John Edusei Conducts Beethoven's 8th Symphony with South Netherlands Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw on YouTube (26:44)

Kevin John Edusei

Sergio Mims writes:

I know you'll be interested in this new video that was just posted of Kevin John Edusei conducting Beethoven's 8th symphony with the South Netherlands Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam

Virginia Gazette: Virginia Symphony to Perform William Grant Still's "Afro-American Symphony" at Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Jan. 14 in Norfolk

William Grant Still (1895-1978)

Music Director JoAnn Falletta will conduct the VSO's upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. tribute concert. (Courtesy of Anne M. Peterson)

By Seth Birkenmeyer

December 19, 2017


The Virginia Symphony Orchestra announced Friday it will perform a free concert paying homage to Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 14 in Norfolk. The event aims to embody the Civil Rights leader’s focus on bringing people together.

“It’s more important now than ever to celebrate him,” said VSO music director JoAnn Falletta, adding that King’s focus on peace and unity make for “a message that still needs to be heard.”

The concert continues a decades-long tradition of the VSO honoring Martin Luther King Jr. through artistic expression. Falletta said the initiative helps foster relationships between local communities, churches and the symphony itself.

“Every year, it’s a little different,” she said. “But it’s always joyful. It’s always inspiring.”

This year’s concert begins with “The Star Spangled Banner” and then transitions into “Symphony No. 1” by 20th century African-American composer William Grant Still. The concert also features Duke Ellington’s “Three Black Kings,” which in part commemorates King’s life.