WHEN I RISE…LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! OperaArts Presents Weekend of Events Honoring Barbara Smith Conrad, 2/9 & 10


OperaArts will honor the life of Barbara Smith Conrad with "When I Rise...Let Your Voice Be Heard" - a weekend featuring two special events, February 9 and 10, in Palm Springs. In 1957, MS. Conrad was a gifted black opera student at the University of Texas who was thrust into a civil rights storm that changed her life forever. After being expelled from the cast of an opera because of her race, the incident escalated to national news, prompting unexpected support from Harry Belafonte and Eleanor Roosevelt.

On Saturday, February 9th from 6 - 7:15 p.m., the "When I Rise" committee, along with OperaArts and Temple Isaiah, will host a showing of the video of the Barbara Smith Conrad story. AT&T, PBS, and the Dolph Briscoe Center produced the video for American History in Austin, Texas. Ms. Conrad will appear following the showing for a Q & A session with the audience. The showing will take place at Temple Isaiah located at 332 West Alejo Road in Palm Springs. A donation of $10 will help underwrite a scholarship for the Negro American Academic Fund. For more information, call 760-323-8353.

On Sunday, February 10th, an elegant evening occasion will take place honoring Conrad from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Renaissance Esmeralda Hotel and Spa's Crystal Ballroom. A pre-dinner cocktail reception will take place followed by dinner with keynote speaker RAndy Lowe, Board Chair of the LGBT Center of the Desert, presenting a talk on diversity. Then guests will be entertained by original classical musical pieces by local composer Joe Giarusso, written to the poems of Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes, performed by a selected choir from the California Desert Chorale featuring Bass-Baritone Cedric Berry, and accompanied by Chorale Director Tim Bruneau. Proclamations from Coachella Valley mayors will be presented to Ms. Conrad. A final musical program will top off the evening featuring OperaArts performers Cedric Berry and Shana Blake Hill, with pianist and OperaArts Musical Director Victoria Kirsch, singing operatic arias and selected spirituals. Tickets to this event cost $125 per person, or $1,250 for tables of ten and can be purchased by calling 760-325-8353 or online at www.operaartspalmsprings.org.<

OperaArts is a non-profit organization whose goals are to bring quality music, specifically Opera and Operetta to the public at large, accompanied by fine displays of the visual arts. OperaArts was created from the collaborative efforts of a small consortium of community residents and opera aficionados.

More information about the event can be found online at www.operaartspalmsprings.org or by calling 760-323-8353.

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David Green David Green is the Executive Director of The American Foundation For Arts Education, founded by Carol Channing and her late husband, Harry Kullijian -- working to restore the Arts to our nation?s public schools and provide an arts education to every child in America. He is the founder and President of the nationally acclaimed "Musical Theatre University", a training ground for talented young people with aspirations for careers in theatre, most specifically musical theatre. Mr. Green's Broadway alumni include Tony -nominees Matthew Morrison and Stephanie Block, Drama Desk nominee Lindsay Mendez, Krysta Rodriguez, Scott Barnhardt and Anneliese VanDerPol to name a few. As a producer and director, he has staged over 150 theatrical productions for both educational and professional theatre and with such stars as Carol Channing, Cathy Rigby, JoAnne Worley, Rex Smith, Jonelle Allen, Eric Kunze, Davis Gaines, Stephanie Zimbalist, John Raitt, Betty Garrett and more. Mr. Green is the Regional Editor and Reviewer for the Inland Empire of Southern California.