NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Singin’s Axes and Kantorei choirs at Stephen F. Austin State University will welcome Fort Worth ISD Lone Star Youth Chorus and its director, Jesse Cannon II, along with other guests to perform in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.
The program, “Holding the Light: A Black History Month Celebration” will feature works by Robert Ray, B.E. Boykin and Marques L.A. Garrett, according to Dr. Tod Fish, associate director of choral activities at SFA and Singin’s Axes and Kantorei director.
“Black History Month is an important part of our country’s social fabric and deserves to be celebrated,” Fish said. “The concert features musical compositions and the poetry of African American artists. ‘Holding the Light’is a powerful poem by Stuart Kestenbaum that speaks of love and light repairing the brokenness of the world. It resonates with today’s society.”
The choirs will be joined by SFA faculty members Dr. Thomas Nixon and Maggie Hinchliff, collaborative pianists, and Dr. J.D. Salas, bass guitar; Ryan Herriage, graduate conductor from Sulphur Springs; and SFA School of Music alumni Frances Teal and Jay Teamer, guest soloists.
The featured work on the concert is Ray’s “Gospel Mass,” performed by the Kantorei and Singin’ Axes combined choirs. “Dr. Ray ingeniously takes the movements of the Roman Catholic Mass and composes it in a gospel musical style,” Fish said. The musical talents of Teal, Teamer and Salas are showcased on this work.
The combined SFA and Fort Worth ISD choirs will sing Boykin’s “Holding the Light,”a work that “displays a lovely piano accompaniment with simple melodic and harmonic material that clearly conveys the complex societal issues present in the text,” Fish said.
In the concert’s finale, the combined choirs will sing the classic spiritual, “Soon I Will Be Done,” in which Garrett’s setting uses “driving rhythm and colorful harmonies” to build energy throughout the piece, according to Fish. Cannon, who serves as vocal division vice president of the Texas Music Educators Association and director of vocal and elementary music for Fort Worth ISD, will conduct the combined choirs for the finale.
Concert tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. To purchase tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit finearts.sfasu.edu. For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.