Livingstone choir's Christmas concert Monday in Varick Auditorium
By Laurie Willis
If you’re looking for a way to get in the Christmas spirit without spending tons of money at the local mall, the Livingstone College Concert Choir has the perfect solution:
The choir’s annual Christmas concert at 6 p.m. Monday in Varick Auditorium.
The free event will last approximately an hour and feature music by Margaret Bonds, an African-American woman who earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, both in music, from Northwestern University. Bonds studied at Julliard and is best known for her collaborations with Langston Hughes.
In fact, on Monday night, Livingstone’s choir will perform “The Ballad of the Brown King,” a Christmas cantata based on text by Hughes and composed by Bonds. The large scale work from the 1950s was originally created for voice and piano but later revised for chorus, soloists and orchestras, said DaVaughn Miller, who conducts Livingstone’s choir. It consists of nine movements, including a mixture of jazz, blues, calypso and spirituals.
“The theme for the concert choir will be a celebration of African-American female composers,” Miller said. “We recognize there have been great contributions by African-American female composers, however, those contributions are not regularly performed. As an HBCU it’s our charge to preserve this music, and we feel that by performing ‘Ballad of the Brown King’ we can give Bonds her just recognition and expose the public to her wonderful work at the same time.”
The concert will also feature solo performances by several choir members, Miller said.
“Over the past month, the students have been working diligently to prepare for this glorious concert,” Miller said. “The music is moving, stirring and uplifting and is guaranteed to elevate peoples’ spirits.”
Dr. Gary L. Callahan, Chairman of Livingstone’s Music Department and Dean of the Holistic College, said he thinks the concert is a perfect way to jumpstart the public’s holiday festivities.
“Our choir will be performing at Carnegie Hall in April, but this Christmas concert gives the public a chance to come hear them for free,” Callahan said. “It should be a wonderful event.”
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