The Penn State African American Music Festival, Jan. 30 to Feb. 1

The 2014 Penn State African American Music Festival, now in its 19th year, includes six events celebrating the music of African-Americans and African-American composers. Penn State students and faculty members will be joined by guest artists 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 in a three-day exploration of this exhilarating repertoire.

The festival is coordinated by Penn State professor Anthony Leach. All events will occur in Music Building I or the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the University Park campus of Penn State. They are free of charge and open to the public.

Funding for the African American Music Festival has been provided from the University Park Allocation Committee and the Penn State School of Music.

Thursday, Jan. 30
12:10 p.m., Pasquerilla Spiritual Center’s Eisenhower Chapel 
The festival kicks off with a lecture recital by School of Music senior Eric Williamson. Titled "African American Composers of the 20th Century and Beyond," the program will feature music by composers of musical theater, instrumental music, and classical vocal music. Cultural and historical research will be presented regarding each of the composers represented. Performers include faculty member Velvet Brown, members of the tuba studio, and student vocalists Kiena Williams and Eric Williamson.

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

Guest sopranos Elisabeth Stevens and Diane L. White-Clayton will perform a recital of solo vocal music composed by African American composers. They will be assisted by Yo Jung Han, piano. For program information and biographies of the artists, click here.

Friday, Jan. 31 
2:30 p.m., Esber Recital Hall
The festival’s guest artists will provide a short concert of music by African American composers during the School of Music's Common Hour. The performance features sopranos Elisabeth Stevens and Diane L. White-Clayton, the Cheyney University Concert Choir under the direction of Marques L. A. Garrett, and the Lincoln University Concert Choir conducted by Edryn Coleman. For program information and biographies of the artists, click here.

Friday, Jan. 31
3:30 p.m., 110 Music Building I
Guest singers Elisabeth Stevens and Diane L. White-Clayton will present a voice masterclass and lead discussion regarding traditions of African American vocal music. Penn State voice students will perform, followed by stylistic suggestions and critique.

Friday, Jan. 31
6 p.m., Esber Recital Hall
The Cheyney University Concert Choir under the direction of Marques L. A. Garrett, and the Lincoln University Choir conducted by Edryn Coleman will present “United in Song,” a concert of choral music composed or arranged by African Americans. The choirs are accompanied by Toni Caldwell-Hall and M. Helen Meacham. For program information and biographies of the artists, click here.

Saturday, February 1
1:00 p.m., Pasquerilla Spiritual Center’s Worship Hall 
The festival comes to a rousing conclusion with a concert by Penn State's Essence of Joy, joined by the Cheyney University Concert Choir, Lincoln University Concert Choir, and guest soloists Elisabeth Stevens and Diane L. White-Clayton.

Essence of Joy is conducted by Anthony Leach. Student conductors are Jo Lash and Donté Ford. The choir is choreographed by School of Theatre faculty member Aquila Kikora Franklin, assisted by student Eric Williamson. Percussionists are faculty member Darrin Thornton, joined by students Oluwatobi Jewoola and Donté Ford. Neal S. Holter plays electric bass. For program information and biographies of the  artists, click here.

The Feb. 1 concert is available through live streaming video at the Penn State School of Music.

Last Updated January 22, 2014