Arkansas chorale to perform works of Jamaican composers

Saturday, March 18, 2017

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The University of Arkansas Inspirational Chorale, which began its tour of Jamaica yesterday, will include the works of Jamaican composers in their repertoire at concerts scheduled for Montego Bay, Kingston, and Mandeville.

The works have been included in recognition of this being their first show in Jamaica which has been dubbed Sun, Sea, Song and seeks to expose the works of the chorale to Jamaica while exposing them to the diverse Jamaican culture, including its music.

The chorale, under the direction of Dr Jeffrey Allan Murdock, are set to perform the Jamaican patriotic songs I Saw My Land by William Pilgrim and O’er Blue Mountain composed by Clyde Hoyte, with arrangement by Noel Dexter. Noel Dexter’s composition of Psalm 150 will also form part of the repertoire as is Tune Your Harps (The Grand Chorus) from the oratorio Jonah by Samuel Felsted. Felsted was the organist at the St Andrew Parish Church when he composed the oratorio between 1773 and 1775.

Murdock expressed his pleasure and great expectations of performing before a Jamaican audience.

"This tour has been a dream of mine for several years, having interacted with colleagues for this beautiful island. The music is beautiful and we look forward to inspiring your audiences."

He noted that his friend Dr Byron Johnson planted the seed while they were students at the University of Southern Mississippi. The previous tours by the Dr Gregory Fuller-lead choirs from "Southern Miss" sealed the deal for him.

The repertoire of the chorale will include spirituals, gospel, classical and pop which will be on offer at five performances across the island.

The performances began yesterday at the St John’s Methodist Church in Montego Bay. The tour moves to the Corporate Area today with a recital at the chapel on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies, starting at 5:00 pm. Come tomorrow, Monday March 20, there will be a lunch hour performance of at the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville starting at 12:30 pm.

The University of Arkansas Inspirational Chorale returns to the Corporate Area on Tuesday, March 21 for a performance at the St Andrew Parish Church, starting at 7:00 pm. The choir wraps the tour on Wednesday at the Hope Zoo in St Andrew commencing at 8:00 pm.

The University Chorale will share the stage with the visiting choir for the performance at the University Chapel, while the Kingston College Chapel Choir will perform with them at the St Andrew Parish Church.

All performances will benefit a number charities across the island. The beneficiaries include maintaining access to the Hope Zoo for children, children’s homes, community outreach, and scholarships for students at The University of the West Indies.




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