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Classical KUSC to help celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation

Soprano Latonia Moore will perform in a concert at the AT&T Center Theatre. (Photo/Dallas Kilponen)

How is Classical KUSC helping to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation? By hosting some of the most beloved singers of our time in the AT&T Center Theatre for an Emancipation Proclamation Concert on Sept. 22.

Soprano Latonia Moore, baritone Donnie Ray Albert and tenor George Shirley are among the stellar artists who will be featured at the concert in the 485-seat performance hall of the AT&T Center at 1139 S. Hill St. in downtown Los Angeles. The center is also the location of the offices and studios for the classical music station.

The concert is being organized by John Malveaux, president of the Long Beach Central Arts Association, through MusicUntold, the association’s affiliate.

MusicUntold presents arts and education programs and in years past has organized an annual Juneteenth concert in Long Beach that has been supported by Classical KUSC. This year, Classical KUSC and the Colburn Foundation are partnering with MusicUntold to support the Emancipation Proclamation concert, which will include 11 classical artists, most of whom are not regularly seen on Los Angeles stages. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., preceded by a lecture about the music and the Civil War era at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s been thrilling to watch this concert come together,” said Gail Eichenthal, Classical KUSC’s program director, who will serve as host for the event. “The talent that John has assembled is mind-boggling. KUSC is so proud to be involved, having musicians of this caliber performing in our beautiful, neighboring concert hall.”

The featured artists, in addition to Moore, Albert and Shirley, include violinist Sanford Allen, violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama, pianist Althea Waites, composer-pianist Richard Thompson, soprano Jammieca Mott, pianist Lukas Swidzinski, pianist Polli Chambers-Salazar and violinist Annelle Gregory. These artists, who represent a range of styles, have appeared on the stages of great opera houses and concert halls worldwide. Biographies of each artist can be found at musicuntold.com

Eichenthal, who said the AT&T Theatre is ideal for vocal and chamber concerts, added that landlord LBA Realty has invested in a professional, segmented acoustical shell to make the concert experience even better. Since Classical KUSC’s move to the building in 2010, it has sponsored an opera workshop, two concerts by the baroque ensemble Musica Angelica and a concert and colloquium organized by USC neuroscientist Antonio Damasio.

Malveaux said Classical KUSC’s partnership with MusicUntold on the Emancipation Proclamation event “is uplifting a community-based annual concert celebrating the ending of slavery to a historic concert of national significance.”

The concert will consist of solo and duo performances interspersed with spoken texts describing the journey from slavery to the election of President Barack Obama. Concertgoers will hear songs ranging from “Oh, Dem Golden Slippers” and “My Old Kentucky Home” to blues violin, Mozart and selections from Verdi’s “Aida.” The performance order will follow a historic timeline, starting with Mozart and ending with a composition by the living composer Richard Thompson.

The performers are fitting this concert into their busy performance schedules. Soprano Moore, for example, will fly out the next day to begin rehearsals as Aida with the Dallas Opera, and baritone Albert will leave the same day to begin rehearsals as Amonasro in “Aida” with the Edmonton Opera.

Tickets, which are $60, are available at musicuntold.com

This sesquicentennial celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation is part of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862, although it did not free slaves in states of rebellion until January of the following year.

For more information on the concert, contact John Malveaux at jmalveaux@gmail.com or (562) 436-4352.

Classical KUSC to help celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation

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