The Negro Spiritual

“Negro Spirituals/Moses Hogan Chorale  Day” Proclaimed

The cities of Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, San Mateo, East Palo Alto, Palo Alto and the City and County of San Francisco have proclaimed November 20, 1999 to be “Negro Spirituals/Moses Hogan Chorale Day.”

Friends of Negro Spirituals submitted proclamation proposals to the various city governments for such honors for Negro Spirituals/Moses Hogan Chorale Day.

The rationale for the proposal is based in the cultural and historic significance of the Negro Spiritual and of the Moses Hogan Chorale, which is ending its touring season on November 20, 1999 following the concert at the Herbst Theatre. In its requests, the organization observed that Negro Spirituals are an irreplaceable form of African-American music, and that, as Dr. Caldwell clarifies in her book, African-American Music – A Chronology 1619 – 1995, “From the spiritual sprang the holler, gospel music, Creole songs, ragtime, the blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul music, and the various phrases of jazz.” As a significant facet of the African-American musical heritage, it deserves special honor and validation by governments.

It maintained that the Moses Hogan Chorale merits particularly special tributes also. Throughout its history, it has exhibited high musical standards and interests in preserving the spiritual; it has been performing and giving voice and visibility to it. It has been masterfully affirming the value, beauty, and inspiration of a music that was critical in the daily life of our slave ancestors and that is meaningful to many African-Americans and others today.


Downs Memorial Church to Sponsor Holiday Negro Spiritual Concerts

Located in Oakland, California, the Downs Memorial United Methodist Church will present two concerts that includes Negro or African-American Spirituals. On Monday, December 20, 1999, 7:30 P.M., the church will host its annual Christmas concert, “We Have Seen the Star;” the event will be held in Oakland at the Henry Kaiser Calvin Simmons Theatre, # 10, 10th Street, Oakland, California. The concert will feature traditional Christmas Negro Spirituals, selected choruses from Handel’s Messiah, and other Christmas music.

The church will also initiate a new tradition of presenting an annual Negro Spirituals African-American History Month concert. The first one will take place at Zellerbach Auditorium on the U.C. Berkeley campus on Saturday, February 26, 1999, 8 P.M.

Both events will be under the direction of the multi-gifted Maestro William Bell and will feature the church’s sixty-member community choir, which is still open for new members, particularly male voices. For information, call (510) 529-1491.


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