Essence of Joy to perform final concert of 2017-18 academic year April 8

April 02, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Essence of Joy will perform "Anticipation," its final concert of the 2017-18 year, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 8, in the Worship Hall of the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. The concert will celebrate the history of the ensemble and honor the retirement of its founding conductor and music director, Anthony T. Leach.

The concert repertoire is separated into three segments representing different generations of Essence of Joy as an ensemble, and includes three compositions by former Essence of Joy members. Graduate students Gregg Mauroni and Valerie Flamini will serve as assistant conductors.The choreographer will be School of Theatre faculty member Aquila Kikora Franklin, assisted by student Jermaine Crosson. The choir will be assisted by percussionist Emanuel Gamble and bassist Neal Sven Holter.

Tickets, available at the door, are $4.99 for general admission and $2 for students. The concert will be livestreamed on the Penn State School of Music website.


2008 – The Present

Hear My Prayer - Moses Hogan

Psalm 117 - Cedric Rouson

Lift Every Voice and Sing - arr. Roland Carter

Deep River - Hogan

Make Me a Channel, Lord (premiere) - Donte Ford (Essence of Joy alum)

Keep Your Eye On the Prize - Stanley Spottswood

America the Beautiful - arr. Mark Lehnowsky (Essence of Joy alum)

Hear My Prayer - Spottswood

Rejoice! - Smokie Norful

Hebrew 4:9 (There Remaineth a Rest) - Donald Lawrence

Clap Praise - Diane White Clayton

1999 – 2008

Grandmama Singing to the Lord - Christina Harrison (Essence of Joy alum)

Seasons - Donald Lawrence

The Twenty-Third Psalm - Cissy Houston

Come Before His Presence - Richard Smallwood

The Light - Glenn Burleigh

America the Beautiful - arr. Anthony Leach

 I Just Want To Say Thanks - Raymond Wise

The Lord Is My Light - Percy Bady

1991 – 1999

Jesus Is the Light of the World - arr. Kenneth Louis/Leach

Wanting Memories from ‘Crossings’ - Ysaye Barnwell

Why Do We Sing? - Kirk Franklin

Born to Die - Burleigh

He Has Done Great Things For Me - Shirley M. K. Berkeley

There Is No Failure In God - Berkeley

Anticipation - V. Michael McKay

Created in 1991, Essence of Joy sings sacred and secular music from the African and African-American choral traditions. Annual University Park events include fall and spring concerts, as well as the "African American Music Festival" in February and "Our Gift in Song"  in December. The choir also regularly collaborates with other Penn State ensembles, including a performance of the Leonard Bernstein Mass in 2013. Involving undergraduate and graduate students from all academic programs at Penn State, Essence of Joy has performed throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio and Illinois.

The choir has been invited to perform for conferences of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, the eastern division of the Music Educators National Conference, the eastern division of the American Choral Directors Association, the national American Choral Directors Association, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In addition, Essence of Joy has presented concerts at the Schomburg Museum of Black American Culture in New York City. The choir has released four compact discs: "The Soul and Spirit of Essence," "Essence 'Live,'" "Lift Every Voice and Sing," and "The Light." The choir made its first European tour in 2001 with concert performances in Poland and the Czech Republic. Recent tours have taken Essence of Joy members to South Africa, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Canada, Spain and France.


Last Updated April 02, 2018