With Special Guests Jessye Norman, 3WB, Dionne Warwick and Children Of The Gospel Choir,
On April 12, 2014, one of the nation’s leading independent arts producers and recent recipient of the National Medal of Arts, Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS), will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Marian Anderson’s groundbreaking Easter Sunday performance at the Lincoln Memorial, a landmark moment in the Civil Rights movement, with an all-star concert hosted by Jessye Norman, the celebrated American soprano and longtime friend of WPAS and of Ms. Anderson.
Ms. Norman will be joined by, among others, Dionne Warwick, the vocal group 3WB (brothers Marvin, Carvin, and BeBe Winans), composer Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner, journalist Wolf Blitzer, opera singers Soloman Howard and Alyson Cambridge, American Idol winner Candice Glover, vocalist Annisse Murillo, and an extraordinary choir of nearly 300 voices led by WPAS Gospel Choir Artistic Director Stanley Thurston to tell Anderson’s story through music, words and images, tied together with a narrative by Tony Award-winning playwright Murray Horwitz (Ain’t Misbehavin’).
Inspired by both her towering artistic achievements and deep humanitarianism, the program draws on music from the classical and African-American spiritual repertoire that defined Anderson’s career. The program includes the world premiere of a WPAS-commissioned choral work by D.C. music luminary Dr. Ysaye Barnwell (Sweet Honey in the Rock) that will be performed by the WPAS Men, Women, and Children Of The Gospel Choir and singers from 20 D.C.-area choirs, including:
Alfred Street Baptist Church
Children’s Chorus of Washington
Heritage Signature Chorale
Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington
City Choir of Washington
Washington Master Chorale
Cathedral Choral Society
The musical selections are woven into a narrative penned by Murray Horwitz, plus archival footage, images and contemporary video tributes. A culminating event in WPAS’s ongoing cultural and educational outreach program that, among other things, has introduced 10,000 D.C. school children to Ms. Anderson’s artistry and activism, Of Thee We Sing is already being heralded as a vital cultural event for the D.C. area.
The program will be live streamed on the District of Columbia Network on April 12 and will air on Centric (A BET Network) in June 2014.