African-American Music Week Kicks Off April 10

On Wednesday, April 10, through Saturday, April 13, the Ithaca College School of Music will host its first African-American Music Week. All events are free and open to the public. Headlining this celebratory week of African-American musicians, composers and genres is Opera Noire of New York. On Wednesday, April 10, the group will present an evening of opera favorites and spirituals including the finale from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”. The performance will begin at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music.

Dedicated to advancing African-American classical singers, Opera Noire of New York empowers its members to achieve their full potential in a mutually supportive environment that promotes effective training, constructive sharing and unselfish generosity. Opera Noire is under the direction of Kenneth Overton.

African-American Music Week will continue on Thursday, April 11, with a Student Showcase at 8:15 p.m. in the Hockett Family Recital Hall in the Whalen Center. Students from the School of Music will present a variety of music ranging from Broadway, jazz and African American Spirituals.

The week will conclude on Saturday, April 13, when some 150 young gospel singers from high schools in Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts and New York join forces for the Eighth Annual High School Gospel Festival. Beginning at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall, the concert will be the culmination of two days of rehearsal and instruction.

Directed by School of Music faculty members Baruch Whitehead and Janet Galvan, the festival will include guest clinician Keith Hampton, artistic director and founder of the Chicago Community Chorus and director of music at Hillcrest Baptist Church. Thanks to a collaboration with the Roy H. Park School of Communications, the event will be produced by Gossa Tsegaye, assistant professor of television-radio, and cablecast on student station ICTV, available as Channel 16 on the Time Warner local educational access. Channel 16 can be received by any subscriber with basic cable service.

“This festival is an opportunity for people to take a journey that transcends religion, politics or race,” Whitehead said. “There is something about gospel music that touches everyone who is involved, both performer and listener. I believe that the festival helps us all realize the important contributions of African Americans, music that sustained their journey and afforded them a peace of mind and spirit. We seek to experience the totality of human emotions and spirit through the avenue of gospel music.”

“The singers participating in this concert were highly recommended by their teachers,” added Galvan. “The program will include new renditions of standard favorites, including ‘This Is the Day,’ ‘Clap Your Hands,’ ‘Blessed Assurance,’ ‘Jesus Promised’ and ‘You Are the Light of the World.’ This will be a wonderful experience for everyone involved.”

For more information, contact Jenny Stockdale, marketing communications manager in the School of Music, at or (607) 274-3256.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact the School of Music at (607) 274-3717 or as much in advance of the event as possible.


Gospel Festival