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Wilmington College to Present Fourth Festival of Women in Music & Art

April 6, 2006

Two days of musical lectures, public rehearsals and opportunities to meet the featured visual and musical artists will culminate with a concert highlighting four choral groups April 1, at 7:30 p.m., in Wilmington College’s Hugh G. Heiland Theatre.

WC’s fourth Festival of Women in Music & Art on March 31 and April 1 is designed to provide unique insight into the compositions of Bernice Johnson Reagon and Rosephanye Dunn Powell, whose works will be performed.
Also featured at the festival will be the paintings and monotypes of Katherine Kadish.

Reagon, a Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of history at American University and curator emeritus at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. She is a recognized authority on the instruction and transformative power of traditional African-American music.

A musical composer, performer, scholar and consultant, she recently retired from her 30-year affiliation with the acclaimed African-American women’s ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, which she founded in 1973.

Powell is an associate professor of music at Auburn University who holds a doctor of music degree. She is a composer and arranger of choral music whose soprano voice has been heard throughout the eastern United States. She previously served on the faculties of Philander Smith College and Georgia Southern University.

Powell’s works have been premiered by internationally renowned choral conductors and she has been commissioned to create pieces for children’s choirs, university choral groups, music festivals and special events.

Compositions by Reagon and Powell will be performed at the April 1 concert, “A Celebration of the Music of Bernice Johnson Reagon and Rosephanye Dunn Powell,” featuring the Wilmington College Community Chorus, College Chorale, MUSE Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir and the Central State University Chorus, individually and collectively.

For those interested in a comprehensive immersion into the work of these musical artists, a number of events are open to the public prior to the Saturday concert.

On March 31, Reagon will present a lecture, “The Song Culture of the Civil Rights Movement,” at 2 p.m. in Kelly Center followed at 4 p.m. by a presentation by Powell on “The African-American Spiritual: The Heart of the Slave Community” at the same location.

A rehearsal with the composers and the College-Community Chorus and College Chorale will be open to the public from 7 to 9 p.m. March 31 in the Hugh G. Heiland Theatre.

On April 1, scores, books and paintings will be available for purchase at 1 p.m. in the Oscar F. Boyd Cultural Arts Center lobby. Powell and Kadish will be on hand.

Kadish’s exhibit will be featured in the adjacent Harcum Art Gallery from March 23 through May 14. The artist received her bachelor’s and master’s of fine arts degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Chicago, respectively.

Kadish describes her art as depicting the “transformation and fragility of each precious moment we experience. Color is the lifeblood of my work and what I respond to and remember most strongly, followed by light and shadow — elements in nature that are shifting and transitory.”

That afternoon, from 2 to 4 p.m., an open rehearsal will be held with the composers, MUSE and the Central State University Chorus. From 4 to 5 p.m., all four choral groups, as well as the Steel Sisters on steel drums will rehearse as a mass chorus.

The Festival of Women in Music & Art is presented free of charge by Wilmington College’s Departments of Music and Art. It is co-sponsored by WC, Collett Propane, Wilmington Iron and Brass, Bush Auto Place and Vectren.