Moses Hogan Chorale to give final
Performance in Sold Out Concert
Felecia Parker and Barbara Jones
For years, the state of the art of spirituals
has been defined by the sound of many who have
gone before. On November 20, 1999, 8 P.M., the
premier New Orleans based Moses Hogan Chorale
graces the stage at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van
Ness Avenue, San Francisco; bring its unique
sound and performing in a concert that sold out
almost two months before the date of the event.
The chorale, an ensemble, specializing in chorale
music and Negro Spirituals, will present its
final performance at that time, thus ending a
nearly 10 year history of a masterful musical
aggregation; the chorale will perform in a
concert at Stanford Universitys Memorial
Church on Friday, November 19, 1999, 8 P.M.
Audiences have thrilled to the chorales
concerts in both Europe and in the United States,
and critics have praised it for its melody and
strong variation deft integration of musical
43-year-old Moses Hogan, who is the leader of
the Chorale, a pianist, conductor and an
arranger, draws a sharp distinction between
spirituals and later out growths such as gospel.
Original spirituals, he says,
contained a lyrical quality and dealt with
a variety of emotions. The songs were termed
spirituals because of the relationship between
the type of song and the Holy Spirit.
Having evolved within the inhuman conditions of
slavery, spirituals were consistently
employed in the quest for freedom, but,
also, Hogan adds, in religious services, and to
educate, gossip, and reprimand, signal, or to aid
in storytelling. Spirituals were an
intrinsic part of the African-American plantation
life and were were sung at all important
occasions and events.
Hogan began exploring the choral music idiom
in 1980 when he organized the New World Ensemble,
which evolved into the present Moses Hogan
Chorale in 1993. Shortly thereafter, the Chorale
began receiving invitations to perform at events
at the local, national, and international levels.
The performance at the Herbst theatre is being
sponsored by San Francisco Performances; Friends
of Negro Spirituals are supporters.
Friends of Negro Spirituals Explores How Passion
to Perform Spirituals Develops
second radio special of the year, the
organization presented Negro Spirituals
From Souls to Souls. The one hour
program was aired on radio station KPOO, 89.5 FM
on August 21, 1999, 8:30 PM. Hosted by Sam
Edwards and Lyvonne Chrisman, it featured
spirituals performed by Shirley Graves, Linda
Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, Louis
Armstrong, Barbara Hendricks, the Moses Hogan
Emit Powell and the Gospel Elites, jazz tenor
saxophonist Johnny Griffin, and by jazz pianist
Bob Thompson. It included a brief commentary on
the sources that ignited in each artist the
passion, inspiration, and the motivation to do
spirituals in one or another genre.
Several factors were linked to the development
of strong desires to perform spirituals. They
included 1) their having an admired, close
relatives or church member who sang or
appreciated spirituals; 2) their growing up in
the south in church in which spirituals were
valued; 3) and feeling emotional connectiness to
the sound or to some quality about the music.
The first radio special was aired on radio
station KPOO on February 19, 1999 as a feature of
African-American History Month. It was entitled,
Celebrating Negro Spirituals: Gifts from
Our Enslaved Ancestors. It gave a condensed
history of Negro Spirituals, identifying the
types of spirituals and highlighting contributors
to that genre of music Illustrative music was
played to magnify points.