The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
By Robert Graham, VocalEssence
The VocalEssence Choral Pathways program is designed to enrich the lives of older adults through music education workshops, sing-along sessions and concerts. The theme for the upcoming workshops and WITNESS concert celebrates the life, legacy and music of Marian Anderson.
Residents and community members from our partner sites will learn about Marian’s most famous public concerts, including her 1939 outdoor recital for an audience of 75,000 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial — after being rejected by the Daughters of the American Revolution to perform inside Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. — and her performance at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington in 1963. These workshops are led by VocalEssence staff and Dr. Louis Porter II, acclaimed Twin Cities author and journalist. The sing-along sessions, led by the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and guest Teaching Artists T. Mychael Rambo and Anita Ruth, will give participants the opportunity to sing many of the African American spirituals and hymns that Marian loved to perform in her recitals.
To conclude the Marian Anderson experience, Choral Pathways participants will attend the WITNESS: Marian Anderson concert on February 17, 2013. The first half of the concert will feature the VocalEssence Chorus, who will perform poems by notable African American poets and literary figures set to music. After intermission, the audience will enjoy the world premiere of Jon Cranney’s play, entitled Marian Anderson: A Musical Memoire, featuring actors Greta Oglesby, Andrea Ivy, and soprano Marlissa Hudson.