[NEW HAVEN REGISTER] Voices will be raised in 2 Arts & Ideas events June 15-16

Two voice-based events hold special promise on June 15-16 as part of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas — one featuring local talent and one from New York.

This article originally appeared in the New Haven Register on June 10th 2018.  Click here to view the article on their website.

“NEW HAVEN — Two voice-based events hold special promise on June 15-16 as part of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas — one featuring local talent and one from New York.

On June 15 at 6:30 p.m., the 2nd annual New Haven GospelFest, organized by Mae Gibson-Brown, will feature a 100-person choir, soloists, a dance troupe, male and female vocal quartet, drill team, and enough love and spirit to lift the stage and viewers on the New Haven Green.

Photo taken by Stephanie Berger

An A&I spokesman said GospelFest will honor 95-year-old New Haven resident and leader Pastor Martha Virginia Green, pastor of St Mary’s Free Will Baptist Church.

On the other end of the age spectrum, 10-year-old dancer Quinton White Jr. (who has appeared on Showtime at the Apollo and American Dance Awards) will perform, as will 17-year-old violinist Jordan A. Brown.

There will be solos by Wade Townson and Barbra Joyner and numbers by male quartet Tyreese Hall & the Golden Stars as well as female quartet Heavenly Stars featuring Kay and Fay.

There will also be performances by Salt & Pepper Gospel Choir with additional church choirs joining and the emcee will be special guest Charles CC Brown, former Broadway star from Washington, D.C.

On June 16 at 2 p.m. in Sprague Hall, as part of the Yale International Choral Festival, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, led by founder and artistic director Francisco Nunez, will sing the world premiere of a new, large-scale choral work that engages social justice issues ― the meaning of citizenship, in particular ― by composer Paola Prestini.

The program will also include music from Bernstein to Paul Simon, plus a piece by Nunez himself.

For the concert, according to a YPC publicist, Francisco asked Prestini to write a piece based on the idea of “citizenship” as a way to open a dialogue with the YPC youth, who come from different backgrounds. As part of the rehearsal process, Francisco also asked the choristers to write poetry or stories on citizenship.

The resulting piece, “The Glass Box,” is a 20-minute work for double chorus, written with Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Royce Vavrek. And its story is anything but typical.

The work depicts young refugees in Sweden who fall into a coma-like sleep when their families are up for deportation — a story that Paola first read about in the New Yorker. Known as uppgivenhetssyndrom, or “resignation syndrome,” the illness is known only to occur in Sweden, with the victims withdrawing from the world. The only cure is the reversal of the government’s immigration decision.

The work will involve multimedia elements, with YPC singing the part of the children and singers from Yale Choral Artists singing the part of the parents.”