The music area of Kellogg Community College opened the new year strong with the first release of a new initiative designed to better reach audiences in the time of COVID-19: the College’s first-ever virtual choir presentation.
More than a dozen KCC choir members perform in the piece – “Praise the Lord,” by composer Florence Price – which was released Jan. 1 and can be viewed below or on the Performing Arts at KCC YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/DpOXxrtKhaI.
Dr. Gerald Case-Blanchard, director of Vocal Arts at KCC and coordinator of the College’s music programming, conducted the performance, with faculty pianist Nancy Brown accompanying. Mitchell Eithun, a video production engineer based in Lansing, produced the video.
Case-Blanchard said the work is just the first of a planned series of such presentations the music area hopes to produce in celebration of the choral program’s 65th anniversary this year.
“Like so many other organizations around the world, choral music was dramatically impacted by COVID-19,” Case-Blanchard said. “Each of my colleagues in the choral world specifically was forced to learn new technologies, rely on our own creativity and critical thinking skills (all things developed and enhanced through a musical education) to find new ways to keep our singers engaged and keep the music sounding.”
Case-Blanchard and the music faculty at KCC hope such initiatives might inspire others to sign up for music lessons and choir activities at KCC this spring; the semester officially begins Jan. 19, with individualized music lessons, choir and other music classes all offered in a virtual format.
It’s been a challenging year for the community and the College, Case-Blanchard said, but he wants the world to know that “music at KCC is still alive and vibrant.”
“I am so happy with the work and effort put forth by our choristers to ensure the music at KCC will continue to inspire and place more beauty into our world,” he said. “As I and my many colleagues around the country work to navigate our way through this virus and its impact on the choral community, a project such as this is one creative way to keep our students singing and expressing themselves.”
Price was an early 20th century composer who was the first African American woman to have her work performed by a major national symphony orchestra. Case-Blanchard chose this particular piece to celebrate her contribution to choral literature and in part to mark the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement, which was in 2020.
For more information about KCC choirs, music programming or performance opportunities available at the College, visit www.kellogg.edu/music.
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