VSU Choirs Present 'An American Experience: Gospel, Spirituals, ACappella'

April 8, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Choirs Present 'An American Experience: Gospel, Spirituals, ACappella'

VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State University’s Concert Choir, Spotlighters, and Chamber Singers will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 15, inside the sanctuary at Park Avenue United Methodist Church. The concert is free and open to the public.

“All music will celebrate the American musical experiences of gospel, African-American spirituals, and a cappella,” said Dr. Paul Andrew Neal, director of VSU’s Choral Studies program.

This end-of-the-academic-year performance will feature Dr. Robert Ray’s “Gospel Mass,” which was composed while he was a liturgy team leader for the National Office of Black Catholics. The “Gospel Mass” is Ray’s interpretation of 2,000 years of liturgical tradition with the more contemporary music of the African-American church. Composers have reportedly, for hundreds of years, taken the text of the Ordinary of the Mass and created musical settings, each one making the listener feel something different about the worship experience.

Sunday’s performance of the “Gospel Mass” will mark the 30th anniversary of its publication.

“It is my desire to combine centuries of old traditions of Mass settings with sounds of the contemporary black church,” Ray has been quoted as saying. “The move from Latin to English created new opportunities for composers to express their feelings about the texts of the Ordinary of the Mass. I wanted everyone to experience the sense of joy and celebration that is generally felt in true African-American worship.”

Sunday’s performance will also feature spirituals by William L. Dawson and Moses Hogan and a cappella arrangements of music by Aretha Franklin and other artists.

For more information, please contact Dr. Paul Andrew Neal, director of Valdosta State University’s Choral Studies program, at (229) 333-5812 or paneal@valdosta.edu.

On the Web: www.gospelmass.com and www.valdosta.edu/music