PULLMAN, Wash. – Music written or influenced by African-American composers and cultures will be performed for Black History Month at Washington State University at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Bryan Hall.
“The Sacred and the Spiritual” – an annual, free, public concert – will feature various WSU musicians in collaboration with the University Singers.
The University Singers, under the direction of Dean Luethi, will present four selections. Ed Lojeski’s arrangement of the American melody, “Amazing Grace,” provides an evolving treatment of this text from a traditional hymn to an energetic gospel style. The spiritual “Keep Your Lamps,” arranged by Andre Thomas, is a homophonic treatment of this traditional slave song. The addition of percussion adds momentum, energy and drive.
Robert Shaw arranged many spirituals and folk songs. His arrangement of “Set Down Servant” is an upbeat treatment hardly able to contain the sentiment “My soul’s so happy, I can’t set down!” For decades gospel music has been an integral component of worship for Africa Americans. Jeffery Aimes’ arrangement of “Let Everything That Hath Breath” captures this style.
WSU’s vocal ensemble Vojazz will offer two selections. First, the men will perform the rhythmic and energetic spiritual “Go Where I Send Thee,” arranged by Uzee Brown Jr. The women will perform “Sinner Man” arranged by Kirby Shaw.
The University Singers will be joined by WSU jazz faculty Gregory Yasinitsky, Brian Ward, Dave Snider and Dave Jarvis to form the Sacred and Spiritual Combo, which will perform three selections. “Walk with Me” is a gospel song arranged in a smooth contemporary jazz style.
“Come Sunday,” by Duke Ellington, will be performed as a medium swing ballad. “Higher Ground,” by Stevie Wonder, will be performed in the style of the writer.
WSU faculty pianist Brain Ward arranged the music for the combo and the instrumental parts for the collaborations with the University Singers.