#1: On the Scene in 2023: Even though “Across the Arts” was on the scene less than usual, we were able to catch some memorable moments. The top highlight of 2023 is the formation and concert début of the Washington Douglass Chorale under the direction of co-artistic directors Nolan Willliams, Jr. and Scott Tucker.
(Lead Photo: The Washington Douglass Chorale in its first concert at the National United Methodist Church in Washington, D. C.)
by Patrick D. McCoy
#2: The Verdi Requiem with The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and The Washington Chorus (Eugene Rogers, Artistic Director) conducted by James Conlon with soloists: soprano Michelle Bradley, mezzo-soprano Yuliana Matochkina, tenor Russell Thomas and bass Morris Robinson at the Music Center at Strathmore.
#3: The Heritage Signature Chorale and The Cathedral Choral Society with orchestra joined forces to present “Our Work Unfinished” featuring the concert and spiritual works of Black Composers at Washington National Cathedral under the baton of Stanley J. Thurston. The concert was preceded by a live conversation with Dr. Adolphus Hailstork, whose “Done Made My Vow” was performed on the concert. Soloists were Kishna Davis Fowler, soprano, Issachah Savage, tenor with narrator D. C. Washington and organist Paul Byssainthe, Jr. Composers and works featured were:
James Lee, III: A Clean Heart: Psalm 51:10, from Four Sacred Motets
Fela Sowande: Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
Ulysses S. Kay: O Praise the Lord: Psalm 117, from A New Song
Adolphus Hailstork: Fanfare on Amazing Grace
Florence Price: Praise the Lord
Damien Geter: Agnus Dei, from An African American Requiem
William Runyan, arr. Nathan Carter: Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Adolphus Hailstork: Done Made My Vow
#4: Baritone Justin Michael Austin in Kennedy Center Recital début as the 2024 Marian Anderson Award Recipient with pianist Howard Watkins
“His recital in The Terrace Theater was one that, for many singers carry a great weight and responsibility. The great contralto Marian Anderson was a trailblazing artist who for many paved the way for Black singers to excel in the realm of opera and classical music. Austin carried that tradition forward in his own special way as he too lifted his generation of singers by his sterling example. What was truly unique was the innovative way in which he curated his own story through the music.” READ OUR FULL ACCOUNT
PHOTO: Scott Suchman
#5: Washington Performing Arts Spring Gala: “The World in Our City”
“The gala is just a month ahead of the 10 year anniversary of the organization’s President and CEO Jenny Bilfield. Bilfield has certainly continued to embody the inclusive spirit of Washington Performing Arts Founder Patrick Hayes. Through the rebranding of the organization early on in her tenure to the increased opportunities for ‘home grown’ artists. With a legion of loyal supporters the event raised more than $700,000 to benefit the arts education, gospel programming, and presenting season and Mars Arts DC performances of Washington Performing Arts.” READ MORE HERE
#6: Tenor Lawrence Brownlee in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City
“Across the Arts” journeyed to NYC for a live interview with superstar tenor Lawerence Brownlee during his run at The Metropolitan Opera in Mozart’s timeless opera. Watch our live conversation here:
#7: The Washington Master Chorale: “I, Too, Sing America”
Artistic Director Thomas Colohan led the Washington Master Chorale in a breathtaking program of works amplifying the works of Black composers. Of special note was the featuring of young composers Ronald Walton, Marcea McGuire, and the Florence Price Commission Competition Winner Mason Bynes. CLICK HERE FOR AN ENGAGING PRINT INTERVIEW WITH BYNES ABOUT THE CONCERT
#8: The Choral Arts Society of Washington and Orchestra with guest conductor Dr. André J. Thomas
Dr. Thomas conducted the Choral Arts Society of Washington with guest soloists: Danielle Talamantes, soprano, Alexandra Colaizzi, mezzo-soprano, Kevin Punnackal, tenor and James Shaffran, bass in Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass.” Also featured on the program was the cantata “I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes” by Adolphus Hailstork and “Solaris” by Dominick DiOrio.
#9: Organist Adam Scott Graham in Recital at The Franciscan Monastery, Washington, D.C.
Acclaimed organist and church musician Adam Scott Graham was presented in recital at the Franciscan Monastery. For his program, he presented works by Saint-Saens, Elgar, Bach and Weaver. We caught up with him after the recital and Ms. Euraline Watson, a member of Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Beltsville, MD.
#10: The National Philharmonic in a semi-staged performance of Handel’s Messiah at The Music Center at Strathmore.
Joined by Baltimore Choral Arts, the National Philharmonic performed Handel’s timeless oratorio conducted by Piotr Gajewski with guest soloists soprano Aundi Marie Moore, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford, tenor Norman Shankle and baritone Jorell Williams. Follow spotlights on the soloists, no scores in hand, dramatic expressions with unexpected entrances and exits added a feeling of suspense to an otherwise traditional work. Read more about this special presentation.
***BONUS Now who can top singing for a King’s Coronation?
South African soprano Pretty Yende turned heads around the world when she sang at the Coronation of King Charles, III.
+IN MEMORIAM+ (to include) William Zick, (Founder of Afri-Classical) André Watts (concert pianist) Grace Bumbry (legendary operatic soprano and mezzo) Harry Belafonte (jazz singer and activist) Tina Turner (rock star) John Aler (operatic tenor and professor of music at George Mason University) Lena McLin (composer, music teacher and minister) and beloved Organist and Choirmaster Brian Jones.
A native of Petersburg, VA, Patrick holds a BM in Vocal Performance from Virginia State University and a MM in Church Music from Shenandoah Conservatory. Formerly the Performing Arts Columnist for Washington Life Magazine, he currently is a freelance writer, publishing articles for several noted publications and organizations, including The Washington Post, Early Music America, Classical Music Voice North America, The Afro-American Newspaper, Prince George’s Suite Magazine, CBS Washington, Examiner.com and Washington Classical Review. He holds membership in the Music Critics Association of North America, National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., American Choral Directors’ Association, Association of Anglican Musicians, a former member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors, a member of the Shenandoah University Black Alumni Network, a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and a member of the Sigma Zeta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America. As an alumnus of Shenandoah, he was named to the Dean’s Circle of the Shenandoah Conservatory Advisory Board. He enters his 7th year as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Zion Parish in Beltsville, MD and is the newly hired Development and Communications Manager for Washington Conservatory of Music in Glen Echo, MD. Patrick is the host of “Across the Arts” both a live and virtual media platform covering the performing arts. Visit http://patrickdmccoy.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @PatrickDMcCoy, IG: PDM06. and subscribe to “Across the Arts” on YouTube.