11-13-07: VocalEssence WITNESS concert will witness to the influence of composer Duke Ellington
WITNESS: The Duke Ellington Effect
Sunday, February 17, 2008, 4 pm
Concert Conversation at 3 pm in the Marzitelli Foyer
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul
Tickets: $20-$35. Student and group discounts available. Service charges apply.
To order: 651-224-4222, www.ordway.org
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (November 13, 2007) – Every year since 1991, Philip Brunelle and VocalEssence have focused on the music of African American composers and performers in the VocalEssence WITNESS concert. Since 2005, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has partnered with VocalEssence to present WITNESS. In 2008, the spotlight will shine on the music and impact of Duke Ellington – not only a great performer and bandleader, but also considered the most important composer in jazz history.
The WITNESS concert will feature a "big band"-style orchestra, the VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers and conductor Philip Brunelle along with baritone soloist Dennis Spears, pianist Sanford Moore and sound effects master Tom Keith.
The first half of the concert will explore the "Ellington Effect" – how Duke Ellington’s adventurous spirit opened the way for the next generation of African American composers such as William Banfield and Stephen Newby.
Ellington’s career was accelerated by his national radio appearances on the weekly Cotton Club broadcast, making his name a household word in America. After intermission, Sanford Moore will host a performance inspired by the grand old days of the radio program, complete with sound effects by Tom Keith (the sound effects guru of A Prairie Home Companion). The highlight of the radio program will be music from Ellington’s "Sacred Concerts" – a fusion of jazz, classical music, choral music, spirituals, gospel and blues featuring Dennis Spears as baritone soloist.
Expect unique, dramatic sounds from WITNESS: The Duke Ellington Effect…including a first for VocalEssence – chorus with tap dancer!
For public information about WITNESS, call Ordway Center for the Performing Arts at 651-224-4222. For press information and photographs, contact Katryn Conlin (612-547-1459, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Download high resolution photos of the performing artists at the WITNESS Image Gallery.