ITHACA, NY—The Nathaniel Dett Chorale — Canada’s first professional choral group dedicated to Afrocentric music of all styles — will give a free public performance at Ithaca College on Thursday, Feb. 18. The 8:15 p.m. concert in Ford Hall is part of the Robert G. Boehmler Community Foundation Series.
The 21 multi-faceted vocalists of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale stretch beyond the traditional expectations of a classical chamber choir, performing spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues styles appropriate to the traditions of the African Diaspora.
The group was founded in 1998 and named for the internationally renowned African-Canadian composer and pianist R. Nathaniel Dett (1882–1943), with the mission of building bridges of understanding, appreciation and acceptance between communities of people through the medium of music. In addition to being the only Canadian ensemble invited to perform as part of the celebrations surrounding the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the chorale has performed at events honoring world leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The group strives to create a cultural and historical context for its music. All of the chorale’s concerts include an educational element, as the conductor and singers draw audiences together with the aim of fostering pride in those of African heritage, and informed admiration in those of other cultural backgrounds.
The concert series is made possible by a grant from the Robert G. Boehmler Community Foundation. Boehmler, who received a bachelor’s degree from the Ithaca College School of Music in 1938 and a master’s degree in 1961, was a musician and educator who established the foundation to support education in the communities in which he lived. A music teacher in the Palmyra-Macedon (New York) School District for many years, Boehmler died in 1998.
For more information on the series, visit www.ithaca.edu/music/boehmler.