A Caribbean Mass
by Glenn McClure
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Songs From My Heart
A Collection of Spirituals
by André Thomas
Spring 2007 Concert Notes
A Caribbean Mass – Glenn McClure
Tina with Glenn McClure
A Caribbean Mass: St. Francis in the Americas celebrates the marriage of Latin American cultures and the spiritual legacy of the medieval Italian saint, Francis of Assisi. Followers of "Il Poverello," the little poor man from Assisi, have left their mark on this hemisphere with cities named for the saint (San Francisco, Los Angeles) and customs such as the Christmas nativity scenes we see at holiday time.
This concert mass sets several of Francis' writings into languages and musical styles of the New World. The instrumentation features steel drums (invented in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the mid 20th century) and other percussion instruments from Latin American traditions. Just as Francis said that his cathedral was the whole world, we see that his simple wisdom could not be limited to one language or musical tradition.
A Caribbean Mass combines musical styles of samba, salsa, calypso, rumba, and New Orleans blues. It incorporates Mexican and African melodies, and utilizes Latin, Italian, Greek, and Spanish texts.
- Glenn McClure
Songs From My Heart – André Thomas
A collection of spirituals by the master of spiritual form
- I’m Gonna Sing – an extremely creative arrangement of the traditional spiritual. Adding the text "Sing on! Dance on!" and using swing rhythms in both voices and accompaniment, Thomas makes the most of the dance-like feel.
- Band of Angels – a bluesy, swinging number in which Thomas has combined original material with four traditional spirituals to create a choral showcase that is simply exhilarating!
- Keep Your Lamps – a somber yet confident arrangement of this traditional spiritual. From the parable of the ten virgins, the message is to keep your lamps trimmed and burning because you never know when the bridegroom (Christ) will return.
- Swing Down Chariot – a sensational choral work that’s rhythmically exciting from beginning to end, this is a masterfully-written work with creative twists on the verses and an exhilarating finale.
- Beautiful City – incorporating the spirituals Oh, What a Beautiful City and In Bright Mansions Above, Thomas' extraordinary work creates a poignant musical image of the slaves' viewpoint of heaven - full of wonderful harmonic colors and dynamic contrasts.
- Deep River – harmonies, lush choral textures and stunning dynamic contrasts are hallmarks of this superb arrangement that is reflective and deeply moving.
- If you’re Happy/Amen – a refreshing spiritual setting in a light swing style, with a walking bass line and jazzy harmonies, this buoyant arrangement of two traditional spirituals is full of joy and optimism.
- John Saw Duh Numbuh – From its fanfare-like opening to its dynamic conclusion, this exhilarating arrangement of the traditional spiritual will ignite excitement in both singers and audiences!