A Conversation Still Needed:
William Grant Still, Lynching, and Black Lives
featuring Jonathan Q. Berryman
Director, The Heritage Chorale of New Haven
Amplifying Black Voices, Part #2
Originally premiered Sunday, April 25, 2021, 4PM
Join Jonathan Q. Berryman, Director of The Heritage Chorale of New Haven, Coro Allegro, and guests for powerful conversation and moving music, as we look back at William Grant Still's courageous 1940 work, And They Lynched Him on a Tree, and the continued need to talk and advocate for Black lives and equal justice.
In 1999, Coro Allegro and The Heritage Chorale of New Haven became the first African-American and LGBTQ+ choruses to collaborate on William Grant Still’s double chorus drama, a partnership we reprised 20 years later to mark the Heritage Chorale's 20th anniversary.
Also on the program: Still’s Summerland, performed by Pinkham Award winner and former Coro Allegro accompanist Darryl Hollister, plus the two choruses collaborate in two new virtual choir performances of Still’s The Blind Man and M. Roger Holland’s gospel setting of Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace.
Marietta Simpson, mezzo soprano soloist in the 1999 performance
Distinguished Rudy Professor of Music, Indiana University
Judith Anne Still, archivist and advocate for her father's music,
Ron Williams, baritone and narrator of the 2019 performance,
Singers from both choruses.
Coro Allegro Artistic Director David Hodgkins & Executive Director Yoshi Campbell
Sponsored in part by
David & Shiela Hodgkins.
Audience reviews from the premiere with composer Fred Onovwerosuoke
"Brilliant start to the Amplifying Black Voices series. Great, great job!!"
"Incredibly powerful, relevant, and timely”
"Thank you to FredO and Coro Allegro. How amazing is this music!"
“It was wonderful! I can't wait for the next one.”
Equal Justice Initiative, Community Partner
EJI founder Bryan Stevenson lays out with clarity why America needs to talk about race and its role in our history.
We have been practicing silence about our history for a very long time. In this country, we don’t talk about slavery, we don’t talk about lynching, we don’t talk about segregation, we have a hard time talking about race....We react to the effort of trying to talk about it as if that’s the threat. Not our continued silence.
This series is supported in part by grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Boston Cultural Council - administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, the Boston Mayor's Office for Arts and Culture, and an Alfred Nash Patterson Grant from Choral Arts New England and has been awarded the first Choral Arts New England Board grant, "exemplifying advancement of the Board's priorities in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion."