Sounds of Blackness sustain an enduring, iconic legacy. It’s a St. Paul-spawned international music treasure. Which makes it fitting that they grace the newly opened Concert Hall, this month, at the Ordway Center for the March-long celebrations “Rock The Ordway”.
Rock the Ordway: 22 Days of Opening Nights runs through March 22nd with world premieres, debuts and music selected to reflect diversity. Grand opening events also include The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s world premiere of a new string orchestra arrangement of George Tsontakis’ Coraggio alongside Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. It continues with the world premiere of Minnesota Opera’s The Manchurian Candidate (March 7-15) at the Ordway Music Theater, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with soprano Ying Fang making her SPCO debut (March 13-14); The Schubert Club’s Love Songs, featuring vocal soloists of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with Artistic Director Wu Han and pianist Gilbert Kalish (March 20) and a solo concert by film star Bernadette Peters (March 21). Among the world music festivities: Twenty Years of Freedom, featuring South African legends Hugh Masekela and guitarist Vusi Mahlasela and flugelhornist Hugh Masekela (March 7); Grammy Award-winning Latin rock band La Santa Cecilia (March 12); Irish supergroup Cherish the Ladies (March 17) and the electronic pop collaborative Helado Negro (March 21). Free programming includes Family Day (March 14) with the Flying Foot Forum, Bad Bad Hats, the Bazillions and House of Dance Twin Cities, and The Schubert Club’s 2015 Scholarship Competition Winners’ Recital and an afternoon concert by the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (March 22).
March 19th, NAACP Award winning Sounds of Blackness is at the concert hall performing “Africa to America”. Founding musical director, reached by email, states, “[We] are greatly honored to return to The Ordway Center. We have a long, wonderful history with The Ordway – from Music For Martin which began at The Ordway in January 1988. Sounds of Blackness have performed several of our concert productions at The Ordway over the years, including Soul of The Sixties, We Give Thanks. Africa to America highlights the richness and expanse of African-American music.”
He adds, “The Ordway Center is ‘state of the art’ and its staff and crew are all phenomenal professionals of the highest caliber. Sounds of Blackness attended the gala grand opening performance Feb 28 and it was absolutely amazing. The Ordway’s new [venue] is something to behold, treasure and be proud of. Africa To America is a special opportunity for Sounds of Blackness to musically say thank you.”