On Centre: Centre Region | Penn State festival celebrates black music

January 23, 2014 

What to do on such frigid days? Those not interested in ice fishing, skiing or any sort of outdoor activities in the next few weeks should venture over to Penn State.

One of the highlights of the past 18 winters is the Penn State African American Music Festival. The event — the 19th — is Thursday through Saturday, and features six events that celebrate black music and composers.

Students and faculty members will perform along with guest artists, who include Elisabeth Stevens, soprano; Diane L. White-Clayton, soprano; the Cheyney University Concert choir under the direction of Marques L. A. Garrett; and the Lincoln University Concert Choir conducted by Edryn Coleman.

All events are free and take place in Music Building I or the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center.

Here’s the list:

Thursday, Jan. 30, 12:10 p.m., Pasquerilla Spiritual Center’s Eisenhower Chapel

School of Music senior Eric Williamson will begin with a lecture recital, “African American Composers of the 20th Century and Beyond.” Music by composers of musical theater, instrumental music and classical vocal music will be featured. Cultural and historical research will be presented regarding each of the composers represented, according to a university news release. Performers include faculty member Velvet Brown, members of the tuba studio, and student vocalists Kiena Williams and Williamson.

Thursday, Jan. 30, 6 p.m., Esber Recital Hall

Guest sopranos Stevens and White-Clayton will perform solo vocal music, assisted by Yo Jung Han on piano.

Friday, Jan. 31, 2:30 p.m., Esber Recital Hall

Stevens and White-Clayton will perform with the Cheyney University Concert Choir and the Lincoln University Concert Choir.

Friday, Jan. 31, 3:30 p.m., 110 Music Building I

Stevens and White-Clayton will present a voice master class and discussion on traditions of black vocal music. Penn State voice students will perform.

Friday, Jan. 31, 6 p.m., Esber Recital Hall

The Cheyney University Concert Choir and the Lincoln University Choir will present “United in Song,” a choral concert composed or arranged by blacks. The choirs are accompanied by Toni Caldwell-Hall and M. Helen Meacham.

Saturday, Feb. 1, 1 p.m., Pasquerilla Spiritual Center’s Worship Hall

The conclusion of the week features a concert by Penn State’s Essence of Joy, joined by the Cheyney University Concert Choir, Lincoln University Concert Choir, and Stevens and White-Clayton.

Christopher Passante can be reached at 231-4621 and cpassant@centredaily.com.

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