Singing, dancing, and instrumental music that honors our community’s commitment to racial inclusion was especially meaningful last weekend.
For video excerpts of the concert, visit our Facebook page: South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race
The Two Towns in Harmony-The Remix concert held on November 14th, part of our Integration through the Arts programming for 2015, was an amazing tribute to the original Two Towns in Harmony concert that took place in July 2005 that featured a specially commissioned piece by composer Janet Albright.
More than 100 instrumentalists, singers, and dancers from the ‘Two Towns” region combined forces to produce the free concert at the South Orange Middle School on Saturday and then chorus members reconvened on Sunday to participate in the SO Symphony’s concert. Both programs featured excerpts from Ms. Albright’s work, An American Dale.
This music celebration on Saturday included a children’s choir, a Youth Dance ensemble, the Voices in Harmony chorus, the Columbia High School Excelsior Choir, Columbia High School Special Dance, New World Music group Wogbledoe, the SO Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, and members of Maplewood Community Music and the Maplewood Glee Club. Conductors were Holland Jancaitis, Music Director at Morrow Methodist Church, and South Orange Symphony Conductor Susan Haig.
The Saturday concert included an original dance choreographed by Ruthanna Graves McQueen, (dancer, actor, and lead singer with Swing Town), as well as Voices in Harmony, and South Orange Symphony Orchestra musicians conducted by Holland Jancaitis. The children’s choir was directed by Maplewood resident and opera star Lori Mirabal, who also teaches choral music at Kent Place School in Summit.
The Sunday concert by the South Orange Symphony Orchestra included, in addition to the Albright excerpts, Mozart’s Impresario Overture and Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise (Lobgesang), a symphony-cantata for orchestra, chorus, and soloists. Conductor Susan Haig calls it “a magnificent depiction of heaven and earth praising God. It’s a joyful symphony for Thanksgiving that includes the hymn tune, ‘Now Thank We All our God.'”
This project is made possible by a grant from the Essex County Local Arts Program. We are very grateful for their support!