I experienced my first Magic of Memphis this past weekend conducting several works including the well-received Black Nativity segment. This segment was a collaborative effort that combined the forces of Hattiloo Theater, SubRoy Dance Company and the Stax Music Academy choir.
Because of this collaboration, I was introduced to the talented students from the Stax Music Academy. I had the pleasure of working with them the Monday prior to the first Memphis Symphony Orchestra rehearsal and was completely blown away by their level of preparation, professionalism, dedication and their joy for singing. Their energy was infectious and it definitely showed during every performance. Also because of this collaboration, I became aware of Subroy Dance Company which exists solely to prepare and motivate the professionally minded young performer. These young girls were the embodiment of Memphis Culture, a strong representation of determination shining a spotlight on Jookin, the Memphis born street dance. All of this however, would not have come to fruition without the cast of Hattiloo Theater giving life, rhythm and cadence to Langston Hughes’s words.
Being part of the Magic of Memphis 2019 was incredibly special because there was a representation of diversity not normally seen in classical music and we got to bring that diversity to a wide array of audiences. I felt honored to be part of the Black Nativity Segment alongside my colleagues and look forward to what next years Magic of Memphis will bring.
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