posted November 10, 2009

GPS to Feature The Nathaniel Dett Chorale on Nov. 20

The Hope College Great Performance Series will feature the Nathaniel Dett Chorale on Friday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale is a Canadian professional choral group dedicated to Afrocentric music of all styles, including classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues. The 21 classically trained vocalists have shared the stage with internationally recognized artists such as Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy; opera star Kathleen Battle; the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; and the Signal Hill Alumni Choir of Tobago, West Indies. The chorale has also performed at events honoring world leaders Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and personalities Muhammad Ali and Oscar Peterson.

"The Globe and Mail" Canadian newspaper reviewed a performance saying, "An infectious spirit of joy, community and the sharing of song filled St. Andrew's Church as the Nathaniel Dett Chorale presented their... concert."

Founder Brainerd Blyden-Taylor named the chorale after internationally-renowned African-Canadian composer R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943), who performed at prestigious concert halls such as Carnegie Hall and Boston Symphony Hall. Dett was dedicated to the cause of Black music, winning the Bowdoin and Frances Boott prizes in 1920 from HarvardUniversity.

Blyden-Taylor established the chorale to draw attention not only to Dett's legacy, but also to the wealth of Afrocentric choral music, and to be a professional choral group in which persons of African heritage could see themselves represented in the majority.  The Nathaniel Dett Chorale's mission is to build bridges of understanding, appreciation, and acceptance between communities of people, both Afrocentric and other, through the medium of music. The chorale seeks to dissolve the barriers of stereotype, and to empower humans in general and those of African descent in particular.

Since its inception in 1998, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale has performed extensively throughout Ontario and The United States, including through critically-acclaimed extended tours to the Maritimes (2000 and 2004), Quebec (2002), Northern Ontario and Manitoba (2003), and Western Canada (2001, 2004, 2005).

In November 2002, the chorale released its first CD, "Listen to the Lambs," a historic first commercial recording of the choral works of R. Nathaniel Dett. February 2003 saw the release of Gemini Award-winning "Carry Me Home: The Story & Music of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale," a documentary celebrating the ensemble and its place in Canada's musical spectrum. "Carry Me Home" and a concert film based on the Nathaniel Dett Chorale's "An Indigo Christmas" concert were released on DVD in 2004.

Tickets for the performance are on sale at the ticket office in the DeVos Fieldhouse, and cost $17 for regular admission, $12 for senior citizens, and $6 for children 18 and under. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890.

The ticket office is in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse, which is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets. Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street.

Additional information may be obtained online by visiting www.hope.edu/gps.