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UMD's Shades of Africa Music Festival

“Shades of Africa” Music Festival


Tues., April 2, “Offrandes Vodouesques,” Chantal Lavigne, mezzo soprano, Dr. Jeanne Doty, piano.
Wed., April 3, “Soulful Sounds” with the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir
Thurs., April 4, “American Voices” with the Catalyst String Quartet
Fri., April 5, “African Portraits” with Sowah Mensah and the UMD Percussion Ensemble
Sat., April 6,"Dance Africa" with Dr. Joshua Russell, piano, and the UMD Symphony Orchestra

UMD's Department of Music presents the Shades of Africa Music Festival from April 2-6. This series of concerts celebrates the rich diversity of composers and performers of African descent. The festival will feature world-class artists in a variety of settings: solo recitals, choral, traditional, classical, orchestral and popular. Performances begin each day at 7:30 pm in the Weber Music Hall. For tickets, call (218) 726-8877 or see SoA: Shades of Africa Music Festival || Shades of Africa Music Festival tickets website.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013
7:30 pm
Weber Music Hall
Chantal Lavigne, soprano & Dr. Jeanne Doty, piano

“Offrandes Vodouesques”
Chantal Lavigne received a master's degree in music from the Universite de Montreal and has performed as a soloist for various ensembles. She sings with Vox Luminosa, a professional ensemble led by Claudel Callender. She has performed at the International Festival of Literature, the Creole Month, Festival Musique Multi-Montreal, with the Opera Guild of Montreal, Théâtre opera Laval, Quebec Trestles Opera, and the Opéra Comique du Quebec. Lavigne is interested in the research and dissemination of Haitian music and has been featured at workshops at Laval and McGill universities.

Dr. Doty recently retired as associate professor of music at UMD, where she taught piano, piano-related courses, pedagogy, and chamber music.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013
7:30 pm
Weber Music Hall
Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir
“Soulful Sounds”

This choir gathers singers of various musical experience, ethnic backgrounds, and ages to celebrate music and spirituality through the rich tradition of African American religious music. Led by Sandy Robinson and backed by a talented ensemble of musicians, the choir's heart and harmonies invariably bring audiences to their feet in auditoriums, churches, schools, prisons, conferences, and festivals. Singular in its diversity and the power of its expression, the choir performs music ranging from inspirational spirituals to rocking contemporary gospel tunes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013
7:30 pm
Weber Music Hall
Ovation Guest Artist Series Concert: Catalyst Quartet
“American Voices”

Hailed by the New York Times at their Carnegie Hall debut as “invariably energetic and finely burnished…playing with earthy vigor,” the Catalyst Quartet is comprised of top Laureates and alumni of the internationally acclaimed Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players. Inspired by music’s ability to transform, the Catalyst Quartet seeks to change the way classical music is perceived through diverse programming and inspiring new and young audiences with dynamic performances of cutting-edge repertoire by a wide range of composers. Founded by the Sphinx Organization, the Catalyst Quartet combines a serious commitment to diversity and education with a passion for contemporary works.

Friday, April 5, 2013
7:30 pm
Weber Music Hall
Sowah Mensah, Master Drummer with the UMD Percussion Ensemble
“African Portraits”

Guest artist Sowah Mensah, is an ethnomusicologist, composer and a “Master Drummer” from Ghana, West Africa. Mensah has taught music in both Ghana and Nigeria and is currently a music professor at both Macalester College, and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN where he directs each school’s African Music Ensemble. He also directs the African Music Ensemble at the University of Minnesota. Mensah is the director of Sankofa, a Ghanaian folklore and dance ensemble in the Twin Cities and a member of Speaking in Tongues, a four-piece group based out of the Twin Cities that uses two percussionists, a bassist and a Chinese pipa player. He performs with the UMD Percussion Ensemble.

Saturday, April 6, 2013
7:30 pm
Weber Music Hall
Joshua Russell, piano with the UMD Symphony Orchestra
“Dance Africa”

Guest soloist Dr. Joshua Russell, piano, performs works from composers of African descent. Russell has performed as a pianist, organist, and conductor throughout the United States, Europe, and Haiti.  Widely regarded as an expert on the piano music of Haiti, Russell recently performed an encore recital of Haitian piano music at the Haitian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
UMD's Jean R. Perrault, conducts.

Ticket prices vary: Adult $8-19 | Senior $7-17 | UMD Faculty/Staff $5 | Student $5 | UMD Student $3-5

Shades of Africa Music Festival tickets website
UMD Faculty & Staff: $5 to ALL events! Others: Buy tickets for 2 or more concerts and get up to $5 OFF each ticket.

SoA Shades of Africa Music Festival

Story by Cheryl Reitan


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UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,

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