Wynton Marsalis fused jazz, gospel and classical forms to compose a stunning master work to commemorate the legendary Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City’s community of Harlem. Legendary gospel soloist Karen Clark Sheard, Maestro Damien Sneed and jazz dynamo Rodney Whitaker, alongside the Gathering Orchestra and Carr Center Community Choir, star in the Detroit premiere of The Abyssinian Mass Saturday at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit.
Presented by the Carr Center and Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, the program begins at 7 p.m. on May 18.
Details from the Carr Center:
In 2008, nine-time GRAMMY award winner Wynton Marsalis was commissioned to write a piece commemorating the 200th Anniversary of Harlem’s legendary Abyssinian Baptist Church. The Carr Center and Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church are proud to present this sweeping composition to Detroit audiences for the first time!
The Abyssinian Mass is a sacred celebration, a brilliant work written for Big Band and a 70 piece Gospel Choir. In 2013, Maestro Damien Sneed and his choir, Chorale Le Chateau, joined Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra for a 16-city,19-concert tour across the South that took the musicians into deep dialogue with African American music traditions. The Carr Center production will feature The Gathering Orchestra under the direction of Rodney Whitaker. Special guest Maestro Damien Sneed will be in Detroit himself, to conduct the Carr Center Community Choir .
The Wall Street Journal hailed that “Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass is a successful work of theater as well as devotion. It is consistently inspiring!” Make sure you don’t miss it!
“The piece itself is significant artistically, but because of the forces it takes to do it, it is not done regularly,” said Oliver Ragsdale Jr., President of The Carr Center. “We have the ability to do a piece like this. It’s a mobilizing piece for the community because it hasn’t been done in Detroit before. It hasn’t been done in Michigan before.”
Concert to be held at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 2080 W Grand Boulevard Detroit at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m.
For free parking, use the Grand River entrance to the venue.
About the Artists:
KAREN CLARK SHEARD
Gospel music legend Karen Clark Sheard is renowned throughout the music industry for her signature musical style, her one-of-a-kind multi-octave vocal range and her inspirational messages. A long-time favorite with gospel music lovers, the multiple Grammy, Stellar and GMA Dove Award-winner remains a legendary influence on a diverse range of female artists from Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, to Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans and Missy Elliott.
Damien Sneed is a multi-genre recording artist and a 2014 recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence honor, which is presented annually to emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music. Sneed has also garnered attention in a wide range of other musical genres, including jazz, gospel, pop, R&B, opera and musical theatre. He has already been featured inThe New York Times multiple times for his work in various genres. A pianist, organist, vocalist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger and arts educator, Sneed has worked with legends such as Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and many more.
Internationally renowned bassist and Mack Avenue recording artist, Rodney Whitaker, currently holds the titles of Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University where he has built one of the leading jazz degree programs and performing faculty in the United States of America. He is considered one of the leading performers and teachers of the jazz double bass in the United States. Whitaker has performed and toured with over 100+ legendary performing jazz artists over the past 25+ years.