Voices Rising celebrates Black lives with a choral spectacular
Voices Rising: A Choral Affirmation of Black Lives is a collaboration of 12 Twin Cities choral organizations that is a united artistic response to the murders of George Floyd and Daunte Wright that have placed the Twin Cities at the heart of our nation’s racial reckoning.
The event, curated and led by G. Phillip Shoultz III, Associate Conductor and Director of Learning and Engagement at VocalEssence, featuring Joe Davis, Tish Jones, Jayanthi Rajasa, and Jovonta Patton, amplified the perspectives of spoken word, dance, and visual artists and activists from the Twin Cities’ Black community. The event was streamed free from Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, and broadcast on YourClassical MPR (99.5 FM, YourClassicalMPR.org) on Wednesday night as the opening-night concert of Chorus America’s 2021 Summer Conference.
Watch it now:
The concert features nearly 200 singers drawn from these 12 music organizations:
Drawing on repertoire from such celebrated Black composers as Ysäye Barnwell, Rosephanye Powell, Melanie DeMore, Rollo Dilworth, Alysia Lee, and Joel Thompson, Shoultz envisions a program that strives to “acknowledge injustices, promote dialogue, and support healing in our community.”
“The purpose of this concert is to sing truth to power, say the names of those whose lives were violently taken away, hold space for our collective grief and trauma, and share our voices in ways that promote healing, invite dialogue, and call us into action,” Shoultz continued.
The 12 participating singing organizations represent a range of ages, artistic focus, and diversity that celebrates the richness of Minnesota’s singing communities, in a state often referred to as the “Land of 10,000 Choirs.”
“Chorus America is proud to be collaborating with a cohort of choruses to create Voices Rising: A Choral Affirmation of Black Lives, led by G. Phillip Shoultz III,” said Catherine Dehoney, president and CEO of Chorus America. “When Phillip approached us with this idea, we were inspired by his vision for the way choral music could be part of transforming and healing a community, especially in partnership with other Twin Cities artists. Phillip is one of our field’s leaders in addressing issues of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion and we hope this program inspires continued meaningful work within the choral community."