A Spiritual Affair!
Monday, March 26, 12:00 Noon
Roy Thomson Hall
Suitable For Ages Six and Over!
Call 416-872-4255 for further information
Toronto, ON – Canada’s renowned Nathaniel Dett
Chorale is the guest choir on Roy Thomson Hall’s Free Noon Hour Choir &
Organ Concerts on Monday, March 26, 2007 at 12 Noon. Conductor Brainerd
Blyden-Taylor leads the choir in a programme entitled "A Spiritual Affair"
featuring spirituals, blues and other works in commemoration of the 200th
Anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire, which
took place on March 25, 1807. The programme includes arrangements of many
well-known spirituals such as "Go Down, Moses" and "Wade in the Water," and
a selection of works by R. Nathaniel Dett including excerpts from his
oratorio, "The Ordering of Moses." Other composers featured are Hailstork,
Powell, Morris, Utterback and Hogan. Concert organist Christopher Dawes
accompanies the choir and also performs several solos.
This one-hour performance is the third of Roy
Thomson Hall’s four-part 10th Annual Free Noon Hour Choir & Organ
Concerts 2006/07. The annual series celebrates the artistry of outstanding
Canadian choral ensembles and organists and also spotlights Roy Thomson
Hall’s magnificent Gabriel Kney Pipe Organ. The four-manual, dual-console,
dual-action organ is one of the largest mechanical-action instruments in
Canada, with 71 stops and more than five thousand pipes.
Established in 1998, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale is
Canada's first professional choral group dedicated to the performance and
creation of Afrocentric music of all styles, including classical, spiritual,
gospel, jazz, folk and blues. The Chorale was founded to celebrate the work
of the eminent African-Canadian composer R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) as
well as to promote the wide breadth of Afrocentric choral music. The
ensemble of 21 classically trained vocalists has toured throughout Canada; shared the stage with jazz pianist Joe Sealy, opera star Kathleen Battle
and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; and has performed at events honouring
world figures Nelson Mandel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Ali. The
Chorale gained international attention at Polyfollia 2004 in France and at
the 7th World Symposium on Choral Music in Japan in 2005. The
Chorale released its first CD in 2002, Listen to the Lambs: The Music of R.
Nathaniel Dett. Its 2nd album is a live concert CD of An Indigo
Christmas. The film documentary, Carry Me Home, The Story & Music of
Nathaniel Dett Chorale (Romalis Productions), won the 2003 Gemini Award, and
was released on DVD in 2004, as was the concert film based on the choir’s An
Indigo Christmas concert. For more details visit
The Trinidad-born Brainerd Blyden-Taylor is the
founder/artistic director of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale. A Master Teacher
with the Toronto Board of Education, he coaches teachers and students in
conducting and choral technique. He is Music Director of St. Timothy’s
Anglican Church; was recently appointed Artistic Advisor
of the newly formed Roots Festival in Chatham-Kent, Ontario; and
was the artistic director/conductor of the Orpheus Choir of
Toronto for 25 years.
Christopher Dawes, one of Canada’s leading church
musicians, concert organists and choral accompanists, is also an active
freelance theatre musician, publisher, writer, broadcaster and consultant.
These concerts are made
possible by the continuing generous support of Edwards Charitable