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Join the Saint Rose Camerata to commemorate Black History Month, as the College’s all-faculty group shows the greatness of Black American artistry through works by Black composers and featuring Black poets. The program, to be presented by the all-faculty ensemble via YouTube on February 27 at 7:30 p.m., includes musical works by Henry “Harry” Thacker Burleigh, Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, H. Leslie Adams, and B.E. Boykin, with poetry by Black poets Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and others.

The words of Maya Angelou (1928-2014) are set to music in selections from “Moments in Sonder: A Cycle for Soprano and Piano with Poetry by Maya Angelou” (2017) by B.E. Boykin (b. 1989), a young Black composer, pianist, and vocalist from Virginia, are performed by soprano Dr. Suna Gunther, assistant professor and coordinator of voice, and Josiah Stocker, staff collaborative pianist. They will also perform “Four Encore Songs” (undated) by Florence Price (1887-1953), the first Black woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer and have a work performed by a major orchestra.

Another selection performed by Gunther and Stocker, “Nightsongs” (1961) is a song cycle by Dr. H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932), a prominent Black composer known for his use of many elements of Black American music, such as syncopation, spiritual and gospel music, and Afro-Cubano style. These songs feature the verse of Black poets Langston Hughes (1901-1967), Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880-1966), Clarissa Scott Delany (1901-1927), James Weldon Johnson (1876-1938), and Dr. Leslie Morgan Collins (1914-2014).

Stocker accompanies soprano Dr. Susan Boddie, assistant visiting professor, on “Five Songs of Laurence Hope) (1915) by H.T. Burleigh (1866-1949), a Black composer recognized as a pioneer in establishing the “American School” of classical music.

Guest pianist Hyeeun Hahm joins Stocker (as The Stocker Duo) for their own four-hands arrangements of “Troubled Water” (1967) by Margaret Bonds (1913-1972), a prodigious pianist and composer who premiered her piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. The duo also performs their own arrangement of “Nimble Feet (from Dances in the Canebrakes)” (1953) by Florence Price.

The Saint Rose Camerata will present the prerecorded program on the Saint Rose Music YouTube channel at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 27, 2021. The ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Yvonne Chavez Hansbrough, director, and founder. The program is free and open to the public.

Saint Rose Camerata is the faculty chamber ensemble in residence at The College of Saint Rose. Founded in 2003 and directed by Dr. Yvonne Chavez Hansbrough, the ensemble provides a cultural arts center of classical chamber music for The College of Saint Rose community and the Capital Region. Each season the Camerata presents a series of four concerts of diverse programming. Saint Rose Camerata was heard on WMHT Classical WMHT-FM 89.1 radio “No Ticket Required” and nominated twice for the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Awards in the Classical/Artist/Ensemble of the Year category. The ensemble released their first CD “Saint Rose Camerata Live Performances” in August 2020. The recording features 34 faculty, guest artists, and students and diverse musical styles, genres, and composers. The College of Saint Rose School of Arts and Humanities and The Music Department are sponsors of Saint Rose Camerata.

Event details
What: Saint Rose Camerata celebrates Black History Month
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, February 27, 2021
Where: Saint Rose Music YouTube channel
Cost: Free and open to the public