Bethany College will welcome over 700 students and teachers from area grade schools to Presser Hall on March 25 for a workshop on African American song tradition by this year’s Messiah Festival of the Arts soloists.
The workshop is a participatory lesson designed to facilitate the development of community through the vehicle of music from the African American song tradition. It is made possible by grants from the Smoky Valley Community Foundation, the Salina Community Foundation, and the Salina Regional Health Center Good Neighbor Fund.
Students in grades three through six will experience musical forms including calls and chants; children’s games, songs, and dances; spirituals and ring shouts; songs of resistance from civil rights; and contemporary songs. The historical context will be provided as an introduction to songs in each of these music forms.
Through participation in the songs and discussion of their context, the students will explore music from an African American world view, the values imbedded in the music, the role of cultural and spiritual traditions and rituals, ways in which leadership emerges and can be shared, and the significance of a shared communal experience.
The workshop is given by soprano Karen Slack, mezzo-soprano Cherry Duke, tenor John Wesley Wright, and baritone Michael Preacely. These professional vocalists are members of the American Spiritual Ensemble and are Bethany’s soloists for the 132nd Messiah Festival of the Arts. They will be in concert March 24, 29, and 31. For more information, visit www.messiahfestival.org.