Knight Foundation Presents ABYSSINIAN: A GOSPEL CELEBRATION at Lincoln Center Orchestra Tonight

Knight Foundation Presents ABYSSINIAN: A GOSPEL CELEBRATION at Lincoln Center Orchestra Tonight

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has joined with the Arts & Science Council and Blumenthal Performing Arts to present Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration performed by the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Chorale Le Chateau at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Oct. 8, 2013, at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church (3400 Beatties Ford Road). Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased through or by calling 704-372-1000. Ticket prices are $20 for General Admission and $50 for VIP seating.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (a 15-piece big band), Marsalis and Chorale Le Chateau (a 70-person gospel choir conducted by Damien Sneed) will perform "Abyssinian Mass" - a piece traversing jazz history from spirituals to hard-bop. The work includes modernist variants of New Orleans dirges and struts, the modal excursions of hard-bop and the Duke Ellington big-band legacies of brassy interplay and harmonized ballads.

Marsalis was commissioned for the piece by Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY for their bicentennial in 2008. The church, founded in the early 19th century by free Ethiopian seafarers and African-American parishioners, played a key role in the development of religious music during the Harlem Renaissance and remains at the forefront of the gospel tradition.

To ensure wide access to this cultural experience, Knight Foundation will make 1,000 tickets available free of charge to ASC's community partners including Crisis Assistance Ministries, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Mayor's Mentoring Alliance, among others.

"Friendship Missionary Baptist and Abyssinian Baptist have a strong commonality: providing residents access to high quality artistic experiences," said Dennis Scholl, vice president/arts with the Knight Foundation. "The opportunity to share 'Abyssinian Mass' with Greater Charlotte, and to bring the performance directly into neighborhoods, is an important way to enrich residents and build community through shared experience."

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