World House Choir singers will join the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Jeremy Winston Chorale in singing Joel Thompson’s multi-movement choral work Seven Last Words of the Unarmed on Sunday May 29 at 4:00pm at the Kettering Adventist Church, 3939 Stonebridge Road in Kettering. Here is a link to the live stream.
This powerful and poignant work by Joel Thompson sets the final words of seven Black men killed by police or authority figures. Composed for chamber ensemble and chorus, the dissonant and heartrending piece includes the last words of Kenneth Chamberlain, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Dialo, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, John Crawford, and Eric Garner.
Sunday’s concert, entitled Black Bones, Black Bodies: Musical Portraits, also includes two other works by African American composers: Fortune’s Bones: A Manumission Requiem by Dr. Ysaye Maria Barnwell and Southside Symphonic Dances by Darin Atwater with dancers from the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
Fortune’s Bones: A Manumission Requiem by Dr. Ysaye Maria Barnwell, is scored for full orchestra, soloists, chorus and African bell choir. It is a thirty-minute work written to memorialize the life and legacy of Fortune, an enslaved man; the work raises ethical issues about the value of a human life. Manumission means the formal release of someone who has been a slave. It is telling that the lyricist, Marilyn Nelson, titles this work a manumission requiem. Through Nelson’s poetry and Barnwell’s musical setting, the story moves from suffering to jubilation, with the emancipation of Fortune’s soul in death. Dr. Barnwell will be in attendance for the performance.
Conductor Jeremy Winston has programmed a superb concert. The program opens with the glorious setting of Lift Every Voice and Sing by Roland Carter for chorus and orchestra. Seven Last Words and the Southside Symphonic Dances follow, with the inclusion of the incomparable Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. The second half opens with Fortune’s Bones and the procession of African bells to draw in the ancestors and welcome the gathered audience to the unfolding of Fortune’s story.
Don’t miss this once in a lifetime presentation of the musical portraits of Black Americans through the colorful and musical brush strokes of Joel Thompson, Darin Atwater and Dr. Ysaye Maria Barnwell. All are welcome. Admission is free.