Thursday, May 31, 2018

DC HBCU Alumni Night: Joe Clair and Friends Comedy Show, Bethesda, MD June 2

Calling all HBCU Alumni, Fraternities and Sororities….

Joe Clair and Friends is partnering with the DC HBCU Alumni Alliance for the HBCU Takeover for a Cause! Come rep your school by wearing your paraphernalia.

The DC HBCU Alumni Alliance will be signing up participants to run/walk in the annual 5K race on Saturday, June 30th to raise scholarship money for local students attending HBCU’s.

Eric Conway: Morgan Choir Gives Final Concert of Tour in Munich, Germany

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 9 - Transfer to Munich and final concert of the tour

This morning we left our hotel at 10 AM for a two hour drive to Munich, Germany.  Although we knew that we were close to Germany, we crossed the border in just five minutes from our hotel!  This explains why although there were many uniquely Austrian aspects to Salzburg, there was a strong Bavarian influence to this Austrian city as well. 

We had a beautiful drive along the country side to Munich.  I am sure that you have seen how green the region is, with rich soil for crops.  We were also impressed with the number of houses that had solar panels to generate energy, even In the rural areas of the country. Austria and Germany are much more progressive in some respects than we are in the United States.

Although the city state of Berlin is the capital of Germany,  Munich is the capital city of federal state of Bavaria, Bayern in German. Historic Salzburg is more of a Baroque-style city, however, many of the historic buildings in Munich are more Gothic in style.   We started our tour in Vienna, the largest city in Austria with a population of 1.8 million. Munich, the third largest city in Germany was similar in size with a population of 1.5 million.  

Unfortunately for us, tomorrow will be a huge religious holiday in Germany - Corpus Christi.  All grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks will be closed.  That means that prior to our concert tonight, we must try to see as much of Munich as possible!  Upon arrival to the city, we dispersed for lunch, to return within an hour for a walking tour of Munich.  We were given great information about the history of Munich including the name which means “by the monks” due to an historic Benedictine monastery centuries ago.

Life was certainly slower in Salzburg than in Munich.  We immediately were met with the hustle and bustle of city life.   We first met in the major city square called Marienplatz with an enormous city-hall structure in a typically gothic style.  We just missed the marionette display at the court house where all of the tourists stop for two minutes to see the mechanical display of puppets in the belfry of the courthouse.  We then walked to huge outdoor market with some of the freshest foods we had ever seen, with varieties of vegetables not normally sold in the states like “white asparagus.”  We visited the former Munich Royal residence which had many different parts added over the centuries.  We saw several different architectural exterior styles in the same building.  Part of the building featured painted stone to give the impression of grandeur.  We witnessed painted three-dimensional columns on stone and painted windows on stone, which from a distance looked quite genuine.

After our tour, we had just enough time to check in at our hotel outside of town.  Hotel Schleuse, was more of a quaint bed & breakfast establishment, rather than the more commercial buildings that we stayed earlier on the tour.  We were immediately concerned that there was no air condition in the rooms!  I am told that even in the heat of July, that evenings are generally cool enough that air-condition is not always a given in hotels.  This hotel is quite charming and very home-like.  Unfortunately for us, Munich was a little warmer than usual, but given that we were only going to be in the hotel for less than thirty-six hours, prior to our trip back to the states, we could make it without the the creature comfort of air conditioning!

We had our final concert of the tour last night.  The church was the Nazareth Lutheran church, which was a more contemporary structure than previous venues.   This finale concert, as in past tours, was with a local choir called: Gospel-N-Soul choir! They gave a enthusiastic 30-minute concert prior to our presentation.  This was a group whose charter was to learn gospel and soul music from America.  They were thirty voices strong.  They began their set with Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror and continued with many praise and worship songs from the Baptist church.  

We gave a very focused performance, knowing we had another choir was in the house, and knowing they were looking to us for gospel “expertise!”  We also were a little more demonstrative with our emotions knowing that this was our last concert of the tour and last concert for graduates to ever sing with the choir ever again in this capacity.   When arrived we had a short workshop with the other choir, that I led,  to learn two songs for a concert finale.  This concert was a great finale to a great tour.  

Both choirs met for a reception afterwards, where we ate and drank, and shared ideas about our respective cultures.  Although only pizza was served to everyone for the reception, many commented that the pizza was some of the best they had ever tasted.  The vegetarian options had arugula on top - almost healthy pizza!   A choir member from the other choir came up to me at the end of the concert saying in effect: just singing between our Morgan choir members encouraged them to perform differently and better.  The concert and exchange was a resounding success.  

See link to one of the finale songs with the other choir, as well a pics. from the day!


Link to street musician in Munich:

Link to another street musician in Munich:

Link to finale performance with the local choir: Cleveland Institute of Music: Ann Pilot is Commencement Speaker

Ann Hobson Pilot
Boston Records Juilliard School: Wynton Marsalis Gives Commencement Address


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Eric Conway: Morgan Choir in Salzburg Salt Mine & Lutheran Church Concert

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 8 - Salzburg Salt mines and Lutheran Church Concert

Today will be our last full day in Salzburg. We have thoroughly enjoyed our limited time in Austria. Fortunately, we have spent most of our time on this tour in Salzburg. Everywhere we look we can see a beautiful view among the Alps' mountain range. The Baroque architecture looks like something out of a fairytale. The  Austrian people have been very warm and receptive to us.

Typically, travelers are admonished not to drink water in foreign countries - for fear of getting sick due to not knowing what possible microbes might be lurking. Well in Austria, we had a change our traveling paradigm. The water in Austria is among the best in the world and very pure and safe to drink. During the tour, we drank from public fountains, captured water from the lakes, even took water from the tap of tour hotel bathrooms to drink - something we would never do at home! No one got sick. We even enjoyed the taste of the water!

Today, we traveled to a salt mine about forty-five minutes from the hotel on the Austro-German border. Again, Salzburg is named after mineral - salt! The city has enjoyed wealth over the centuries due to their salt production and trade. A salt mine tour may not sound very appealing or attractive, but our tour today was one that no one on the tour will ever forget! We traveled about one-half mile into a mountain to view the mine and to learn about the history of salt, why there is so much salt in the mountain, and the process of acquiring salt from the mine. If you believe in the concept that billions of years ago, when continents were formed, the water receded and much of the salt from the oceans remained in certain areas, often under rocks or in other words mountains. When salt was discovered on the mountain, this meant an evergreen trading investment for the region. 

At the beginning of the tour, we had to wear protective clothing to avoid getting salt residue on our clothing. We were told to wear warm clothes since we were walking through caves in a mountain. You can imagine that it was very cool - around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. We took a train, reminiscent of an amusement park ride to the center of the mine before getting off on foot. Videos were presented in English, telling the history of salt and the mine. At one point to get to another level in the mine, the group had to go down a huge slide or walk down many steps - of course the group chose the former. In the middle to the mine, we were all ushered onto a ferry to cross a salt lake in the mine. Again, this was like a Disney park attraction. At a certain point we crossed the border to Germany and back to Austria. Originally, the mine was totally in Austrian territory, however, due to changes in political divisions, this changed over the centuries. At the end of the tour, we returned to Austria! Again, I believe that no one will ever forget this salt mine tour. We were so engaged in this salt mine tour, it was like going back in time. See many links to many videos and photos from the tour below.

After a group lunch minutes from the mine, we drove back to the hotel for a few hours of rest before our evening concert.

Tonight’s concert was in a Lutheran church, which was a stark contrast to the cathedral concerts sung earlier in the tour. Prior to the concert we visited Marable Gardens - the gardens of the Mirabelle Palace. The gardens are famous because this is where the song Do-Re-Mi was sung in The Sound of Music. The gardens were very picturesque.

The concert was well attended. This concert was a fundraiser for organization that I do not believe we have in the states: a non-profit supporting the children of mentally-ill parents. The church was packed! Due to the smaller venue size, the sound of this concert was even more suited for voices. We performed mostly without any micing. I announced the concert  in German. After the concert, the church hosted a reception for the choir and for the cause. I was told by a language teacher in the audience that although my German had a heavy American accent, the audience thoroughly appreciated me making the effort to communicate in their language. Any slips in pronunciation were all forgiven. 

We also noticed that this audience seemed to be very high-Austrian society. Many commented that they certainly knew good music and were aware of related concert-etiquette, but after hearing our music, they felt relaxed and comfortable accepting the spirit of the music and began to move their bodies and clap their hands. Many believed that they heard a high-quality choral group who communicated their music exceptionally well. Most attendees stayed behind to talk directly with the choir and give plaudits. 

We returned to our hotel to prepare to leave in the morning for transport to Germany!

See many links and photos attached detailing the day!


Asians working together to load luggage

Boarding train

Choir members going down slide

Going down slide

On the Lake on the Mine

Departing Mine

Entering Restuarant

Beginning of Lutheran Concert

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

John Malveaux: George Walker's Violin Sonata No. 2 on CD Baby Recording

Irina Moreland Live
Irina Moreland, Piano
Gregory Walker, Violin
© Copyright - Irina Moreland / Im Productions (191924850564)

John Malveaux of 

Violinist Gregory Walker teamed with pianist Irina Moreland for a new recording of George Walker Violin Sonata No. 2 available on CD Baby. Visit

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sergio Mims: Tuesday June 12 on WHPK, Hear Violin Concerto of Jose White

Jose Silvestre de los Dolores White

Sergio A. Mims writes:

I wanted you and your listeners to know that on Tuesday June 12 on my WHPK-FM classical music show I will be broadcasting a rare recording of the violin concerto by the Afro-Cuban composer and  violinist Jose Silvestre de los Dolores White (1839-1918). Written in 1864, it was first performed in 1867 with White as soloist but it wasn't until 1974 that the work got its American premiere at Lincoln Center in New York

The recording is the only recording of the work made which is now sadly out of print. In the performance Aaron Rosand is the violinist with Paul Freeman conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

My show in on every Tuesday on WHPK-FM Chicago 12-3 PM (U.S. Central Time) and can be heard locally at 88.5 FM and live streamed worldwide on whpk - home  Also on the show will be Mozart's Piano Quartet  in G minor and Rossini's Messa Di Gloria.


Eric Conway: Morgan State Choir Travels Through the Austrian Alps

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 7 in Salzburg:  Through the Austrian Alps!

Today the choir did not have a concert planned - almost as though we did sing today for our national U.S. holiday - Memorial Day!

As we looked ahead at the activities planned for today, little did we know that we were going to be blown away as much as we were after seeing some of the beauty of the region.  

We first were given a “Sound of Music”  tour in the morning, featuring most sites shown in the movie including Leopoldskron Castle (residence of Van Trapp family), site of the lake scene behind the residence where everyone fell in the water, and the gazebo where the song:  “sixteen going on seventeen" was sung.  As we once again tried to finish the movie on our way to the Van Trapp residence, we were reminded why the movie was so successful.  First, the Rodgers and Hammerstein score is brilliant, with tunes that are as American as apple pie.  The timeless themes of love, faith, individualism are still relevant today.  But one of the biggest reasons for the success is the beauty of the Austrian landscape as a backdrop for the movie.  Today, we saw the backdrop for the movie up-close and personal.  The sites where the movie was filmed were even more beautiful in person than one could imagine on a small television screen.  Surprisingly, most Austrians have never seen The Sound of Music.  It is mostly an American phenomenon. Oddly, the movie has injected billions of dollars of business over the 50 years since the release in 1965 into Austrian culture.  Sadly, more people know about Salzburg in relation to The Sound of Music, than do people know that is where Mozart was born.  See photos attached from sites seen today related to the movie.  The photos of Moodsee church, where the wedding was held is included from our concert given in that church on Saturday!

We then toured the Salzburg Lake District - forty-five minutes from the city, where we drove directly beside and through the Alps to get to our destinations. The view was breath-takingly beautiful!  We went to the towns of Fuschl, St. Gilgen, Bad Ischl, and Hallstatt!  I took over 400 photos from the day. 


Link to drive up a mountain in the Alps:

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

John Malveaux: Joshua Campbel sings tribute to Rep. John Lewis at Harvard

John Malveaux of 

Joshua Campbel and other singers tribute Civil Rights leader & Congressman John Lewis @ Harvard commencement.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Eric Conway: Morgan State University Choir Performed Sunday in Salzburg, Austria

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 6 in Salzburg, Austria:

Today, Sunday, May 27, 2018 was the day for the Morgan choir to explore the historic city of Salzburg, Austria.  Salzburg literal means Salt Castle, which comes from the many barges that carried salt on the adjacent Saltzach river which had to pay a toll to pass through the region.  The city is known for being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as well as the setting of several scenes from The Sound of Music.

Our first obligation was to sing for the 11:30 AM Sunday mass at the Salzburg Cathedral.  I was excited to return to Salzburg, given I have not returned here since my college years.  Although Vienna is the Austrian city of culture, Salzburg is the Austrian city of Music.  As we entered the city, we could hear musicians performing around the city.  We quickly took a group photo in front of the Salzburg cathedral.   

Many of the choir members have seen many formidable cathedrals before but were not ready for the arresting beauty of this cathedral.  Given the size of the city of 150,000 inhabitants, currently being mostly college town with over 30,000 students, we did not know how beautiful and ornate the cathedral would be.  We were told later that the Salzburg Cathedral was where the assistant to the Pope led his diocese.  Salzburg was known as the Vatican City of the north in Europe!  For this reason, the Catholic Church made a huge investment in this church, mostly financed by the salt mines of the area.  Salt was quite the commodity in earlier times due to being one of the only ways that food could be preserved.

The mass went well.  We happened to have a few students who are Catholic who were able to actually take Communion during the mass.  During this tour, we participated in three different masses, One mass at a Jesuit church in Bratislava, another at the Parish Church in Mondsee, and finally at the Salzburg Cathedral. In participating in the masses of these churches, although most choir members are not Catholic, the experience further enhanced our cultural experience in these central European countries.  Each of the services were led in their native tongue.  Although the mass is constant around the world, every church, like home, has their own approach to the mass.  I believe that all choir members enjoyed a richer cultural experience because of our participation in the masses.  We were intricately involved in the Sunday mass today and sang a 30 minute concert after the mass.  

After our mass, we had an hour to walk around Salzburg before a formal guided tour of the the city.  Being a Sunday, and a beautiful one at that, the city was not as crowded as it typically is with locals and our tourists.  At the conclusion of our guided tour we toured the birthplace of Mozart.  The tour revealed Mozart’s humble beginnings as a musical genius.  After the Mozart birthplace tour, most explored the city, picking up souvenirs and buying world-famous Mozart Kugeln (chocolate covered candy with Hazelnut).  A few of us went up to the Salzburg Castle via the cable car to see a view of all of Salzburg!  

For our group dinner, we had Austrian Gulash with potatoes which was again very good.  

We returned to the hotel as early as 8:45 PM this evening, for us all to all get some good rest!


Street musician in Salzburg:

Franz Biebl Ave Maria at the Salzburg Cathedral:

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: Present Like a Pro-The Drama! (3:20)

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, Present Like a Pro-The Drama!  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

Comment by email:
Thanks for sharing!  Hope all is well Bill! [Aaron P. Dworkin]

Kelly Hall-Tompkins: Fiddler at Feinstein's 54 Below this Wednesday May 30th

Kelly Hall-Tompkins, the Fiddler from Fiddler on the Roof, at Feinstein's 54 Below in New York City on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 9:30 PM

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Eric Conway: Day 5 - Morgan Choir performs at church from "The Sound of Music"

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Day 5 - Bratislava - Melk - Mondsee - Salzburg

Today was perhaps the most strenuous travel day that we will have on the tour.  We must leave early to travel back to Austria - Salzburg.  We also must tour an abbey and give a concert - not to check into our hotel until around 11PM.  If you are reading this, you may say what great experiences, however, for anyone who is on the road for more than a couple of days, living out of a suitcase, and working everyday in their profession, the entire process is very strenuous.  I only can think about professional artists that give concerts every night in a different location, how it does take a toll on the body.  Don’t feel sorry for us - LOL!

Although I have shown a few photos of food on this tour, we were surprised at the region’s approach to some food. For example,in Slovakia, they are known for their bread which is stuffed with walnuts!  Most back home would never think of stuffing bread with walnuts, but with a little natural sugar in the recipe, it was extremely tasty (see photo of bread from breakfast).  

On the way to Salzburg, we stopped to tour a Benedictine Abbey in a town called Melk in Austria.  The abbey was founded in 1089 with an extensive library still in use today with over one hundred thousand books.  The abbey was beautifully perched over the Danube river.  One of the reasons for the visit was to sing in the sanctuary in the abbey because of the world-famous acoustics.  However, due to a wedding that was taking place while we were there, we had to forego the informal singing experience- which was perfectly fine by all.

We then traveled to Mondsee, Austria.  You may not have ever heard of this Austrian town, but you certainly know it.  It has the designation of having the most photographed church in the world!  I am speaking about the Parish Church at Mondsee where the wedding in the Sound of Music took place!  If you are older, the Sound of music was such a part of our culture, you could not but be taken by the thought of visiting the structure.  Given that the movie was released in 1965, most of today’s millennials have never seen the movie, let alone heard of it.  If you are a musician, you are more likely to be familiar with the movie because of the ear-training song- Do-re-mi.  To make sure that our students could get the most out of our visit and concert in the Mondsee church, we played The Sound of Music movie on the bus.  This made everyone ripe for the experience of visiting this iconic landmark, not only in Austrian culture but even American culture.  

Like in Bratislava, we were the choir for the mass in Mondsee.  This time, the service was in German not the Slovak language.  We played a much bigger rolle in this service than in Bratislava.  For example, for the Kyrie part to the mass, we sang our Kyrie from the Gospel mass.  For the Gloria part of the mass, we sang our Gloria. I believe I saw the priest even clapping his hands when we sang our spirited versions of our Gospel Mass in service.  

I must say that I have never experienced an acoustic environment like yesterday in the Mondsee church.  We did not use any microphones, which are always problematic due to balance issues.  In this church, the soloists sounded like they were mic’d even though no mics were ever held.  Of course, you can imagine the sheer power disbursed when the Morgan choir sang.  I was able to successfully negotiate the choir to sing under soloists for a perfect balance and blend.  

After the concert, we had a group dinner.  One huge difference with the presentation of food in this region is the conspicuous absence of bread in the meal.  We have never been served bread with a meal since we have arrived in the Europe, (with the exception breakfast).  In place of bread were potatoes served as an appetizer at each meal.  One meal we had potato soup, without broth!  Last night we were served potatoes with our salad.  Everyone agreed that the salad with potatoes was extremely flavorful.  Obviously, potato is their starch rather than bread. 

Alas, I believe that one of the greatest benefits of traveling across the globe is tasting different foods.  In tasting the foods you are tasting the culture. Surprisingly,, virtually all group members are trying all foods, which is definitely part of the tourist experience.

After a 30 minute drive, we quickly checked into our Salzburg hotel around 10:45 PM.  Tomorrow, we must get up early to of course and being Sunday - attend Mass. See photos and video from the day!


Link to performance at Mondsee Church - Be Still and Know that I am God

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University