John Malveaux of
Save the Date : May 6, 2018
“SONGS OF THE SLAVE” by Kirke Mechem will highlight the Spring Concert of The First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica on Sunday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. The Chancel Choir, with guest singers from The Long Beach Chorale, the Los Angeles Concert Orchestra under the direction of Dr. James E. Smith, and organist Ty Woodward, will reprise their world premiere performance of this work from 1994. Originally commissioned by the Santa Monica church, it has since been performed over 100 times, world wide, including a recent performance in Carnegie Hall. Featured soloists will be Wayne Shepperd, bass-baritone, in the role of Frederick Douglass, and Zanaida Robles, soprano.
Kirke Mechem, composer, is often called “the dean of American choral composers.” Frederick Douglass is the central figure in this suite, based on material from Mechem’s opera, John Brown. Douglass, an escaped slave, became the greatest African-American leader of the nineteenth century; he was Brown’s friend for many years.