Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sphinx Performance Academy Alum Angélica Durrell has gone on to not only have a successful music career, but start her own organization, INTAKE

As the dates of our Sphinx Performance Academy draw nearer, Sphinx is continuing to endeavor to raise funds to support this wonderful program.
Success stories of SPA alumni range from scholarships at top music schools to major orchestra positions and beyond, and your support has made these stories possible.

We wanted to share a spotlight on one SPA alum who has gone on to not only have a successful music career, but start her own organization.   
Violinist, former SPA student and recent MPower Artist Grant recipient Angélica Durrell graduated on full scholarship from the University of Connecticut and has gone on to perform at the Crowden School of Music with Grammy award-winning composer Gabriela Lena Frank, the National Symphony of Ecuador, and as guest concertmaster with the Ecuadorian National Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. She has worked as the Artistic Assistant to the UConn Collegium Musicum Ensemble, Assistant Dean of the Sphinx Performance Academy, Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and the Hall Arts Academy.

Angie is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the INTAKE Organization
(Instrumentally Native Taking on the Classics). INTAKE is a non-profit organization that promotes music education through multiculturalism and native instruments.

Dr. Eric Conway: Last two days of MSU choir's Argentinian tour included choir members riding horseback with Argentinian gauchos

Dr. Eric Conway:

Day 11 was our last day in Argentina.  The only event on the agenda for this day was a guided Fiesta Gaucho Tour with lunch.  This was an opportunity for the group to experience and interact with the Argentinian Gauchos (cowboys).   We travelled 45 miles to the Santa Susana Ranch in Los Cardales, Argentina.  As we entered the ranch, we each were given several varieties of Empanadas (you may have seen these hot pastries in several of the earlier jpegs) - the true Argentinian appetizer/snack.  We entered the main house and smelled several different varieties of meats roasting on the coals.  

Everyone in the group was excited, because we had heard that the entire group would be given the opportunity to go horse-back riding.  For some this may not seem like a big deal, but for most of the choir members, they had never been on the back of a horse before - oh what fun!  The guide kidding around with the group saying the the horses were slow and low to the ground.  The horses only had two speeds, slow and slower!  Imagine a kid who lived in the city all of their lives riding a horse for the first time.  After getting over all over sight and smell of the droppings, everyone, truly had a great time!  Imagine that it took a choir tour to get some choir members on a horse for the first time in their lives! 

After an afternoon of riding, we all ate in the big house.  We were concerned because the persons helping us get on the horses earlier were now our waiters!  I guess one had to multi-task on this ranch.  We enjoyed a great barbecue lunch of several meets.  After a huge lunch, we enjoyed a cowboy show of beautiful singing and dancing.   After the show, the host asked the choir to the stage to sing a closing selection for the international audience in the dining room.   After lunch, we went back to the stables and field to see a cowboy show, now with our waiters transformed back to cowboys!  One entertaining portion of the show was the gauchos trying to spear a small ring while galloping quickly to the ring.  When grasped, the cowboy would then give the ring to a audience member for the price of a “kiss”.  

The day at the ranch was a very relaxing way to spend our last day in Argentina, taking in rural Argentinian Gaucho life.  

We returned to hotel to gather our things.  We departed the hotel around 7:15PM.  Our flight back to the JFK was scheduled to depart at 11:00 PM.  

Final Day - 12

We arrived at 9AM on Sunday, May 31, 2015 after an eleven hour flight - the return flight always seems faster.  We were quickly processed through US customs.  Again, all luggage was present and accosted for. We only had a four and half hour drive back to campus.

All in all, this may have been the best attended concert tour that the choir has ever had.  All concerts were either filled to the capacity of the hall or had at least nine hundred persons in attendance.   Of course, the choir likes traveling internationally, but the real joy is seeing the faces of citizens of other countries who have perhaps never heard the voices of an African American choir before.  

As stated in earlier correspondence, there were only a few persons of the African Diaspora in Argentina.  I believe this is one reason why we were may have been such a “novelty”?   Argentina being a Catholic state, with very few other religions, were perhaps hearing some of our American genre of music that we sang for the first time. 
The audiences of Argentina will never forget the Morgan State University Choir.  We travelled as far as a group could travel in Argentina for the limited amount of time that we had.  As tourists, we enjoyed a broad perspective of the country.  

I believe that the Morgan State University Choir represented the choir, city and country well in our concerts.  We pray that we can continue to carry the Morgan banner even higher - growing the future and leading the world!


Tweet Favorited by Choral Arts Link (@METSingers)

Stringendo on "Here's One": "a varied selection of American violin and piano music beautifully interpreted by Zina Schiff and her associate artist Cameron Grant."

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, The composer's recordings, sheet music and books are available from William Grant Still Music, operated by his daughter Judith Anne Still, at  

The Here's One CD and a variety of related scores are available at:

Florence B. Price (1887-1953) is profiled at,  which features a comprehensive Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,

Here's One
Zina Schiff, violin

Cameron Grant, piano
4TAY-CD-4005 (1997)

This recording is named for the first track, Here's One (2:28), arranged by violinist Louis Kaufman.  Next on the program are Two Vignettes for Violin and Piano (4:22).  They are Carmela (2:00) and Bambelele E Espin Garda (2:21). The fourth track is Summerland (3:53).  The fifth track is Blues (2:42) (from "Lenox Avenue" and also arranged by Louis Kaufman).  The sixth and final track of William Grant Still is Quit Dat Fool'nish (1:10).  Lee Hoiby's composition on the disc is his Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 5. Florence Price's contribution to the recording is The Deserted Garden (2:00).

In addition to the works of William Grant Still, Lee Hoiby and Florence Price listed above, this CD includes Henry Cowell's Sonata for Violin and Piano (16:42), and Aaron Copland's Two Pieces for Violin and Piano (9:17) and Hoe-Down (from Rodeo) (2:51).                                                                                                                                 
On May 12, 2015 violinist Zina Schiff sent us an email at the suggestion of Judith Anne Still. Here is an excerpt:

Dear Judith Anne's friend Bill,

I am so pleased to "meet" you !!

When I was a little girl, growing up in Los Angeles, there was a man who often attended the Meremblum Jr. Symphony rehearsals and concerts, where I played.  You could tell he loved children and music, but he was so gorgeous, I thought he was a movie star, like many of  Mr. Meremblum's friends.

In 1994, I had the great pleasure of recording 6 violin works by William Grant Still on an American album called "Here's One", and it was then, that I realized that he was my movie star!!  (Florence Price's The Deserted Garden is on the cd, too).

Zina Schiff offered to send a copy of the CD, and asked for a mailing address. We quickly accepted the offer, and the violinist wrote again:

Will pop the cd into the mail today. Also I am including a review of it I recently received, from Australia - `they are only now discovering it, after all these years! Both Still and Price are singled out, which made me happy.

All good wishes,

Zina Schiff included this note with the CD:
May 2015 "Here's One" especially for Bill Zick - a belated birthday celebration of William Grant Still's birthday - and appreciation for what you do to keep him alive! - Zina

Here’s One is 4TAY-CD-4005, a 1997 release of 4-TAY, Inc.  The performers are Zina Schiff, violin, and Cameron Grant, piano.  The liner notes are by Dana Paul Perna. He begins:

“American composers have produced a unique repertoire for the violin - as varied as the States which form her Union, or the stars and stripes on her Flag. The composers heard on this collection are relatively contemporary with one another; the centennial year of William Grant Still’s birth and Aaron Copland’s 95th birthday year occurred in 1995, Lee Hoiby’s 70th birthday year was observed in 1996, and, 1997 marks the centennial of Henry Cowell’s birth as well as the 110th birthday year of Florence Price.

"The first instrument William Grant Still (1895-1978) studied as a child was the violin. While he bears the distinction of being the 'Dean of Black American Composers', the selections heard on this collection reflect his interest n the music of various cultures.

"When Still moved to Los Angeles in 1934, he made the acquaintance of the renowned violinist Louis Kaufman, who became an ardent champion and friend of the composer. Late in his career, Kaufman recorded an all-still album that included some of his arrangements which Still authorized and included as part of his catalogue. Here's One, the title selection on this recording, is one of those arrangements which was prepared from Still's original setting of this Negro spiritual for voice and piano. The South American tunes, CARMELA and BAMBELELE E ESPIN GARDA, serve as the melodies for Still's TWO VIGNETTES."

"Originally composed for piano as the second movement of his 'Three Visions', SUMMERLAND depicts the 'heaven' to which the soul journeys at life's end and is heard here in Still's own transcription. BLUES derives from Still's radio music-drama 'Lenox Avenue' in an arrangement by Louis Kaufman, who often performed it as an encore. Still dedicated QUIT DAT FOOL'NISH to his 'mischievous' dog, Shep. Originally a piano solo, the violin and piano version was prepared by the composer."

FLORENCE SMITH PRICE (1887-1953) was America's first Black female composer of serious music to achieve recognition. In 1932, her reputation grew when she was awarded the Wanamaker Prize for both her 'Piano Sonata' and 'Symphony in E Minor.'

"Very little (if anything) is known about THE DESERTED GARDEN. Price's biographer, Dr. Rae Linda Brown, believes it to be one of a number of 'teaching pieces' she composed for young violin students. While its form, harmonic content and technical demands are meant to be not too challenging for the developing musician, it is not uncharacteristic of Price's other more demanding music intended for mature players."

Stringendo, Journal of the Australian Strings Association, Volume 36, Number 2, October 2014.  
Here's One
Zina Schiff, violin, Cameron Grant, piano
4Tay CD 4005
"Here's One is violinist Louis Kaufman's arrangement of William Grant Still's setting of a Negro spiritual for voice and piano. Blues is also a very effective Kaufman arrangement of the same composer's work. Indeed the opening six pieces are Still's original compositions, very stylishly played by Zina Schiff. Sonata by Lee Hoiby (1950 rev. 1979) and Henry Cowell follow. Hoiby employs a unique and elegant 20th century lyricism. Cowell's excellent Sonata of 1945 was dedicated to Joseph Szigeti and exhibits modal treatment and contrapuntal technique. In the Finale the composer employs 'stopped' piano strings. Florence Price, the first African-American female composer of serious music to achieve recognition, is represented by a lovely vignette, The Deserted Garden. The CD is rounded out by Aaron Copland's Nocturne, Ukelele Serenade and Hoe-Down.

"This is an excellent introduction to a varied selection of American violin and piano music beautifully interpreted by Zina Schiff and her associate artist Cameron Grant." begins its bio of Zina Schiff this way: "The award-winning American violinist Zina Schiff is a Heifetz protégée. She has made acclaimed appearances throughout North America, Eastern and Western Europe, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand. In the United States she has appeared as a soloist with such orchestras as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Rochester, Brooklyn, San Antonio, Nashville, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle."

The notable American violinist Zina Schiff and the pianist Cameron Grant bring us a welcome program of 20th century music by five American composers born between 1887 and 1926. 
Most of the works of William Grant Still were pleasantly familiar to us, but the title track, Here's One, was an enjoyable new find. The disc also introduced us to The Deserted Garden of Florence B. Price, which was another welcome discovery. We are also happy to be introduced to the Sonatas for Violin and Piano of Lee Hoiby and Henry Cowell, and to the Two Pieces for Violin and Piano of Aaron Copland. This recording was first released in 1997, but it has stood the test of time and is still available. Many CDs of William Grant Still have recently been reissued, often by We sincerely hope this CD will also be reissued, to assure its continued availability indefinitely. We have listened to the recording many times, and fully expect to continue to hear it often.

Disclosure: A review copy of this recording was provided by the violinist.

Comments by email: 

1) During the Free FREEDOM CONCERT to celebrate the 150th anniversary END of CIVIL WAR & 13th Amendment ABOLISH SLAVERY on May 24, 2015 at Hall of Liberty-Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn, Violinist Annelle Gregory and Pianist Mary Au opened a three song set with Here's One followed by Summerland composed by William Grant Still. We anticipate posting the performance in the future.  Thanks, John Malveaux 

2) Dear Bill,  What timing !!  I just spoke with Dana Paul Perna, who called to wish me good luck on my upcoming journey . Tomorrow, God-willing I will be en route to Prague, to record the William Grant Still Pastorela,with Avlana conducting. Thank you so very much for your kind words and for telling folks about the cd.  Your grateful new friend, Zina  [Zina Schiff]

3) Bill, this is a spectacular compendium of all that is remarkable about Still, Price, Schiff, and the best in music.  Wonderful reviews and comments. [Judith Anne Still]

Dr. Eric Conway: With our last concert behind us, we had day 10 to explore Buenos Aires.

Dr. Eric Conway:

With our last concert behind us, we had day 10 to explore Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires is the most European-like city in South America.  Despite Argentina being a Spanish colony, most of the architecture in Buenos Aires is taken from the French.  Many of early Argentinian aristocracy had homes in both Argentina and France.  They brought much of the culture from France back to Argentina.   
Argentina is derived form the Latin "argentum" meaning silver.  The original settlers believed like Peru, there would be much silver in the mountains of this country, which was not the case at all.   Buenos Aires of course means good air, which was quite a good omen, as the city does not have the air pollution like other large cities.  
In driving around Buenos Aires, one will notice an massive system of roads.  The main avenue that dissects the city, called de Avenue 9 de Julio, the date that Argentina proclaimed their independence, has as many as sixteen lanes!  In addition to eight lanes in each direction, there are four more lanes for mass transit vehicles to make a complete thruway as wide as 20 lanes.  Even the highway entering Buenos Aires at one point had as many as nine lanes going each way! Again, I challenge anyone to find a highway system like this one in the United States, which suggests the large number of cars on the road in this city.  How we could use a couple of extra lanes on the Baltimore beltway!  It was once said that much can be learned about a civilization in looking their roads.
On day 10, we travelled to San Isidro, one of the most affluent regions in Argentina.  The area is an historic area with cobbled streets and old single-story houses.  While there, we visited the famous neo-gothic San Isidro Cathedral.  The region is adjacent to the Rio de la Plata, which borders the east boundary of Buenos Aires.  The Rio de la Plata is the widest river in the world, with Uruguay on the opposite side. Many large houses are found in this San Isidro region.
We then went to Tigre, a section of the Buenos Aires that lies on the Paraná delta.  Tigre is an island surrounded by several small streams and rivers.  To get a sense of this region, we took a cruise (boat ride) around the Paraná delta for approximately one hour. 
After a return to the hotel, many of us toured the Buenos Aries Opera House, Teatro Colón.  Twelve of us paid for a personal guided tour of the most expensive building in all of Argentinian.  Every material in the opera house was imported from Europe.  Some consider this the house made of gold.   This Argentinian opera house is considered to have some of the best acoustics of any opera house in the world.  As most were music majors, this was an educational lecture about architecture, acoustics, and overall history for all who attended.
During the evening, we enjoyed a farewell dinner at one of the few buffets in all of Argentina.  Finally, everyone could choose what to eat based on personal preference.  The food was much higher quality and variety than in the states, including stations to personally cook the "catch of the day" before your eyes, carving station with at least eight different types of meet, and a dessert bar that had something for everyone.  I believe that we all can confirm that the people of Argentina definitely consumes more meat than any other country in the world.  In twenty-four hours, we would be on a plane back to the United States.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dr. Eric Conway: YouTube Videos of Morgan State University Choir from Argentinian Tour May 2015

Dr. Eric Conway:

YouTube Videos from Argentinian Tour May 2015:

A Boy and Girl by Eric Whitacre

Water Night by Eric Whitacre

Imagine by John Lennon
Down by the Riverside by Nina Gilbert My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord by Glen Jones Wade in the Water by Jasmine Barnes Tango at Argentinian show Cordoba Music School Gracias a La Vida (beloved song of the Argentinians)

Dominique-René de Lerma: Antoniette Handy-Miller, flutist and administrator

Dorothy Antoinette Handy-Miller(Notable Black American Women, Book 2,
dited by Jessie Carney Smith, P. 277)

Dominique-René de Lerma:
ANTOINETTE HANDY-MILLER, flutist and administrator

We were blessed by the life of Dorothy Antoinette Handy (1930-2002).  She was born in New Orleans into a distinguished family.  Her great-great grandfather was Emmanuel Handy, a Mississippi legislator in the days following the Civil War.  Her father was Rev. William Talbot Handy, Sr., who had a career of almost 60 years as community leader in New Orleans.   Her mother, Dorothy Pauline Pleasant Handy (also from Hazelhurt MS), saw to it that her children were studying violin and piano by the time they were six -- and Antoinette's sister, Dr. Geneva Handy Southall, became a notable pianist, author of a three-volume set on Blind Tom, and head of Black studies at the University of Minnesota. 
While in her last two years of high school, Antoinette played with the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra.  She began her university studies at Spelman College (meeting Calvin Montgomery Miller, a student at Morehouse College, then husband in 1959) earning her B.M. degree from the New England Conservatory in 1952 as a flute major, with a master's degree from Northwestern the following year, during which time she was a member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra. In 1954 joined the Orchestre International in Paris, receiving an artist's diploma from the Conservatoire in 1955. The next year she was in Geneva's Music Viva Orchestra and undertook a tour in Germany as flutist within a trio, sponsored by the United States Information Office.   Returning to the United States in 1956, she was engaged first as a travel agent and then, a union member, she was affiliated with Toscanini's Symphony of the Air conducted by Leonard Bernstein, the Orchestra of America (1960-1962), the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, and the Richmond Symphony (1966-1976), during which period she wrote for the Afro-American,  presented three programs at the Smithsonian Institution, and was commentator on Richmond radio.  From 1968 to 1971, she was in New York, a member of the Symphony of the New World.  She also appeared in California with the Bach Festival Orchestra in Carmel.  She dedicated much of her time then to the Trio Pro Viva, an ensemble with piano and cello, whose membership varied, but which was dedicated to the performance of works by Black composers.
I met Antoinette when she attended the week-long symposium we held in Baltimore in 1972 (she was soloist with the Baltimore Symphony in a concert Paul Freeman conducted at Goucher College).  I remember quite well when she phoned me in 1984 to let me know she had been appointed assistant director of the music program at the National Endowment for the Arts, and then the program's director in 1990.   This was a significant step in providing focus on Black music and musicians.   Although her previous attention had been mainly directed to classical music, she founded NEA's National Jazz Service Organization and National Jazz Network, retiring in 1993.
Like her sister, she was also dedicated to the documentation of women in music, as shown in her publications: Black women in American bands and orchestras (1998), The International Sweethearts of Rhythm (1983); jazz man's journey; a biography of Louis Ellis Marsalis, Jr.(1999), and Black conductors (1995).
She held various teaching positions: Florida A&M University for one semester, New York College of Music (1956-1957), Metropolitan Music School (1956-1963), Harlem YMCA (1957-1959), and even as music therapist at the Alfred Alder Mental Hygiene Clinic and Music Rehabilitation Center.  With the arrival of the Civil Rights Movement, she and her husband joined the faculty at the Tuskegee Institute (1963-1964), then Jackson State University (1964-1966), Virginia State (1966-1971), and Southern University (1966).  She was also artist-in-residence for the school system in Richmond from 1978-1980.  As a Ford Foundation Fellow in 1971, she was engaged in research in Durham and Chapel Hill NC, publishing the results in Black music; Opinions and reviews in 1974 and various journals.  She then returned to Virginia State, directing the Office of Education's Special Student Services.
She was named an outstanding graduate of Northwestern University in 1992 and awarded an honorary doctorate by the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1993.  The National Association of Negro Musicians presented her with their Distinguished Service to Music Award, with other awards and citations coming from the National Black Music Caucus, the National Endowment for the Arts.  She was even featured on the 1994 Aetna Life Insurance calendar.
She died of liver cancer, survived by her husband, political science Professor Calvin Miller, and three children.
The Trio Pro Viva included in its repertoire the E-flat trio sonata (after the sonata for flute and harp) by Saint-Georges, performed both in Petersburg VA and with Geneva Southall and Anthony Elliott in Minneapolis.  The trio had issued an LP, containing music by Undine Smith Moore and others, several on her impetus.  Her solo album of 2 LPs, Black images for the flute, was issued on Eastern ERS-513.

A flutist also of historical and musical significance was Harold Jones, whose career  will be posted on the necrology for 2015.

Jazz figures who doubled on flute include:

Adams, George Rufus, 1940-1992
Carver, Wayman, 1905-1967
Caymmi, Danilo Candido Tostes, 1948-
Coltrane, John, 1926-1967
Dolphy, Eric, 1928-1964
Fortune, Sonny, 1939-
Hancock, Herbie, 1940-
Humphrey, Bobbi, 1950-
Jaspar, Bobby, 1926-1963
Kirk, Rasaan Roland, 1935-1977
Lateef, Jusef, 1920-2013
Laws, Hubert, 1939-
Lloyd, Charles, 1938-
Rivers, Sam, 1923-2011
Sanders, Pharoah, 1940-
Sihab, Shihab, 1925-1989
Wess, Frank, 1922-2013

Dominique-René de Lerma

Comments by email:
1)  Hi,  Interesting.... also interesting list of flute players but one gap! See
Danilo Lozano, an incredible Cuban born virtuoso flutist who straddled the jazz/latin/classical boundaries. The late Ed Bland introduced me to him after producing ‘Dancing Through the Walls’. Incredible technique and musicality! Mike [Michael S. Wright]

2) Forthcoming:  Very expansive register of all concert instrumentalists.  First draft will be ready this week.Dominique-René de Lerma

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sergio A. Mims: Five Black Singers from the USA and Africa are Finalists in "BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Singing Competition"

Blaise Malaba - Democratic Republic of Congo

Kelebogile Besong - South Africa

Ryan Speedo Green - USA

Lauren Michelle USA

J'nai Bridges - USA

Sergio A. Mims writes:

I thought I would share this news with you. 5 black singers from the USA and Africa have made the finals of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Singing Competition

Blaise Malaba - Democratic Republic of Congo
Kelebogile Besong - South Africa
Ryan Green - USA
Lauren Michelle - USA
J'nai Bridges - USA

Dr. Eric Conway: Day 8 began with a plane ride back to Buenos Aires. We departed at 8AM for the Mendoza airport. We had a short 90 minute flight.

Dr. Eric Conway:

Day 8 of our tour began with a plane ride back to Buenos Aires, our arrival city. We departed from the hotel at 8AM for the Mendoza airport. We had a short 90 minute flight back to Buenos Aires, which would have taken 13 hours to return by bus.  Buenos Aires is the largest city in Argentina and 2nd largest city in South America at thirteen million in population.  The runway to the airport is next to the Rio de la Plata which gave a spectacular view upon landing.

Once again, all of our luggage made it back from Mendoza to Buenos Aires.  Our guide is from Buenos Aires, so he was very enthusiastic about sharing the details of his hometown.   Our first tourist attraction of the city was a graveyard called Cementerio de la Recoleta.  This place is called the city of the Dead.  At first the idea of visiting a graveyard did not sound too pleasing, however, once there, we all believed that it was one of the most fascinating places that one could visit.  There were close to 4,700 grave sites at this cemetery.   Every gravesite was a mausoleum, i.e. above ground.   No two mausoleums were the same.  This is the place where presidents, military generals, founding families of the city are buried.  We even visited the gravesite of Eva Peron of "Evita" fame. These mausoleums featured small rooms where one's family could spend private time with their dearly departed.  A typical mausoleum could store as many as thirty bodies.  Families paid annual taxes on the real estate of their plot at this site.  As you can imagine, it was very expensive to purchase and maintain these grave sites.

After the Cemeterio de la Recoleta, we went to a leather factory, where we all marveled at the vast selection of leather goods in the store.  The prices were not bargain basement by any means, but were very reasonable for the quality.  I did try on a leather vest and pair of pants, however, I do no believe I can legitimately wear a pair or leather pants!

After the visit to the leather factory, we visited the Metropolitan Cathedral which housed the tomb of the national hero José San Martin.  We then checked into the hotel.  We had a big evening planned in Buenos Aires, as we took in a Tango show after dinner.  The dancing and singing were very good.  See YouTube link to some video footage that I captured below!

On Day 9 we had our last concert at the Gran Rex Theatre with a seating capacity of 3,300.  I was very concerned that our 1PM Thursday afternoon concert would not have much of an audience, given this did not seem like a regular concert time, however, this is a very well-known series that typically had large audiences.  Our concert was sponsored by the Mozarteum, the top arts organization in all of Argentina.  This series is a free concert series for the people of Argentina.  The hall was very beautiful.  Although it did not seem much larger than Murphy Find Arts Center at Morgan, it was clearly larger with balconies that were quite deep and high.   Before the concert, the lines of persons waiting to see the concert wrapped around the building.  This was a fitting venue for our last concert.  Most attendees were either persons who were retired or persons who worked in the area to attend during their lunch/siesta break.

I was given orders from stage manager to begin 1:00 PM sharp!  I was told the official attendance of our concert was over 900, which is not bad for a Thursday afternoon.  Our concert was approximately one hour.  Again, we had another appreciative audience, who despite our efforts to leave the stage, called us back for an encore. After the concert, much like all of the other concerts of this tour, many persons stayed behind to personally congratulate the choir for their efforts.  

After the concert, Hernan our guide, took us to La Boca, which was the city's first port and an African slave colony before immigrants settled here in the 1880's.  La Boca is one of the city's poorest neighborhoods and still where most if any of the Afro-Argentinians live.  During our stay in Argentina we noticed very few persons of African descant.  We were told by our guide that cholera and yellow fever epidemics virtually killed the entire African population in the 19th century.  We are told from others, that at some point during the history of Argentina, many of the Blacks were exported from the country to retain an ethnically pure race.  Does this sound familiar?  Probably, both are true to some extant, and depends on who is telling the story for their perspective.  At the end of the day, one noticed very few persons in Argentina from the African diaspora.  That may be the reason why our HBCU choir and music is such a novelty in this country.

Tonight, we will enjoy a group dinner and overnight in Buenos Aires!

See some YouTube links to our San Luis concert:

Water Night

A Boy and a Girl

Gracias a La Vida


Dr. Eric Conway sends examples of articles on the Morgan State University Choir in the press of Argentina

Dr. Eric Conway sends examples of articles on the Morgan State University Choir in the press of Argentina:

John Malveaux: African-American Registry: The first event leading to current Memorial Day was organized by former slaves to bury Union soldiers on May 1, 1865.

First Memorial Day - May 1, 1865
African-American Registry

John Malveaux of 

MusicUNTOLD scheduled the Free FREEDOM concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the END of CIVIL WAR & 13th Amendment ABOLISH SLAVERY on May 24, 2015 at Hall of Liberty-Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn. Forest Lawn sponsored their annual Memorial Day event on May 25, 2015. The first event leading to current Memorial Day was organized by former slaves to bury Union soldiers on May 1, 1865. Please see
John Malveaux

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Concert-With-A-Twist featuring Richard Alston, pianist, Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 4 PM, Prospect Presbyterian Church, 646 Prospect St., Maplewood, NJ

Richard C. Alston writes:

Hello Bill.
   On Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 4:00 P.M. I will perform "Classically Black: Piano Compositions by Composers of African Descent" on the concert series "Concerts-With- A- Twist." This performance is presented by the Prospect  Presbyterian Church in Maplewood, New Jersey. Concerts on this series are performances only, but because I will present information on the composers and their works, that is the "Twist." The performance will be held at the church and a free will offering will be collected. I will perform piano compositions by Margaret A. Bonds, Le Chevalier de Saint Georges, Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins, R. Nathaniel Dett, William Grant Still, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, George Walker and Florence B. Price. 

Comment by email:
Thanks Bill – glad Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is represented!  Best wishes – Jonathan B.  [Jonathan Butcher]                                                                                                  

John Malveaux: May 24, 2015 Free Freedom Concert, Los Angeles Teenshop, Inc., California State Military Reserve Color Guard & John Malveaux & Dennis Bartel

Los Angeles Teenshop Inc.

California State Military Reserve Color Guard

John Malveaux and Dennis Bartel

John Malveaux of 

Los Angeles Teenshop Inc provided greeter and program distribution services during Free FREEDOM CONCERT to celebrate 150th Anniversary END of CIVIL WAR & 13th Amendent ABOLISH SLAVERY at Hall of Liberty-Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills May 24, 2015. Dr. Judy Hunter-Davis MD, regional director, is standing far left. See photo
The California State Military Reserve Color Guard opened the program. See photo as they prepare to start march.
John Malveaux and Dennis Bartel briefly chat before doors are opened to Hall of Liberty auditorium to finalized their notes. Dennis is legendary morning host at KUSC Classical Radio. Malveaux is wearing a first issue replica of stamp honoring General Benjamin Davis, Sr., first African American Army General pinned to his jacket. The limited stamp replica was issued at the offical ceremony January 28, 1997 in Washington D.C.

Sergio A. Mims: Here is Episode one of Chi-chi Nwanoku's BBC Radio 4 series 'In Search of the Black Mozart' (30 minutes)

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Here is Episode one of Chi-chi Nwanoku's BBC Radio 4 series In Search of the Black Mozart:

BBC Radio 4

In Search of the Black Mozart  (30 mins.)

Episode 1

Chi-chi Nwanoku has spent her career travelling and performing in concert halls the world over as the principal double bassist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. More recently, she's been on a personal journey seeking out the lives and careers of black classical musicians from the eighteenth century who like her, played and composed music at the highest levels. In some cases, slivers of their lives are on record but you have to be quite determined to find out.

Chi-chi puts the record straight and with the help of some of the finest musical researchers around, she brings to the fore the music and lives of musicians like violinist/composer Joseph Emidy, virtuoso violinist George Bridgetower and composer Joseph Bologne, aka Chevalier de St-George who not only met Mozart in his lifetime, but who was known by all those who heard his music as the 'Black Mozart'.

In today's programme she visits the British Library to find our more about Ignatius Sancho - someone who was born into slavery and ended up being the first person of colour in Britain to have the vote. Also of interest to Chi-chi are his musical compositions which are held at the British Library. Together with music curator, Nicolas Bell and Sancho expert Professor Brychhan Carey the three of them assess Sancho's musical ability and life.

In a more sinister turn of events, Chi-chi talks to Handel scholar, Dr. David Hunter who shares his research which reveals that Handel, whilst composing some of the most beautiful music around was an investor in slavery.
She also hears about the violinist and composer Joseph Emidy who became a musical star of Cornwall's music scene and meets up with one of his musical ancestors.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.