Damien Sneed Celebrates Dr. MLK Jr. At The Soraya
Breakout recording artist, Damien Sneed, will bring his brand of jazz and gospel music to The Soraya for an evening of We Shall Overcome A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Joining him for this musical tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King will be two of LA's leading gospel singers, Grammy Award-winner Erica Campbell and evangelist Markita Knight.
Inspired by the words and action of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., We Shall Overcome features Damien Sneed on piano as he leads an ensemble of multi-faceted artists, including a gospel ensemble, rhythm section, full chorus, and soloists as they perform a repertoire from across the African American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders with interwoven spoken word from Dr. King's recorded speeches.
I first heard Damien in a small supper club in Harlem and knew immediately I wanted to anchor his first tour on the West Coast, especially in a major venue like ours, said Thor Steingraber, Executive Director of The Soraya. There are few artists as versatile as Damien. That evening in Harlem, people were dancing on their chairs and in the aisles. It was ecstatic.
This year  marks Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 90th birthday. The 35th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which was signed into law and made a federal holiday in 1983, was first observed in 1986. The We Shall Overcome tour will continue through Black History Month and the early part of Women's History Month.
I look forward to honoring the life and legacy of the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in my upcoming tour as well as many other great artists and public figures who used their voices and their art to let the world know that one day we will truly overcome, said Sneed.
Joining Sneed on tour is an ensemble of multi-genre vocalists and instrumentalists including Chenee Campbell (vocalist), Anitra McKinney (vocalist), Alicia Peters-Jordan (vocalist), Annalisha Jacobs (vocalist), Tekesha Russell (vocalist), Linny Smith (vocalist), Aaron Chisholm (vocalist), along with special guest artist, and jazz newcomer Camille Thurman, and classical recording artists Patrice Eaton, Audrey DuBois Harris, Brandie Sutton, and Kierra Hogan, who will all appear on select tour dates. The musicians include Mark Clark (drums), John Matthew Clark (bass), and Marque z Cassidy (organ and keyboard).
Produced and directed by Sneed, this production ties together a living lineage of music and culture that includes traditional gospel, modern gospel, classical, jazz, Broadway and spirituals. From Aretha Franklin to Wynton Marsalis; Duke Ellington to Stevie Wonder; Nina Simone to Donny Hathaway; and traditional spirituals and music from The Wiz , Damien's unique understanding of each genre allows him to fluidly cover so much musical ground in a single performance.
Joining him will be Grammy-winning Erica Campbell whose music spans urban contemporary, gospel, Christian, and R&B. She is a recording artist, musician and radio host. Her early career began 1998 with her younger sister, Tina Campbell, as part of the gospel music group, Mary Mary. The performance will also feature popular Evangelist vocalist, Markita Knight.
Also performing will be LA-based Bythax Ensemble, a group of singers comprised of versatile artists under the direction of Dr. Diane White-Clayton, fondly known as Dr. Dee. Their breadth of talent and skill reaches from the opera house to the church house united by their love of God and dedication to excellence.
Single tickets beginning at $34 are now available. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.TheSoraya.org or call 818-677-3000. Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts is located at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330. Ticket prices subject to change.
Damien Sneed is a pianist, organist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger, vocal coach, and arts educator whose work spans multiple genres. Sneed has worked with jazz, classical, pop, and R&B legends including the late Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, Lawrence Brownlee, and many others. The multi-genre recording artist is a recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence, which is presented annually to emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music.
Sneed's boutique label, LeChateau Earl Records, established in 2009, reflects Sneed's varied musical interests and features critically-acclaimed artists from classical, jazz, gospel and other musical genres. He has released several CD projects including his forthcoming album, Damien Sneed: We Shall Overcome (January 2019). Other releases include The Three Sides of Damien Sneed: Classical, Jazz and Sanctified Soul (July 2018), Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition (March 2015), Spiritual Sketches (June 2013), and Introspections LIVE (January 2010).
Sneed has also served as music director for Grammy Award-winning gospel artists The Clark Sisters, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole and Kim Burrell, among others.
Sneed is the founder and artistic director of Chorale Le Chateau, which has gained a global reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance period pieces to art songs to jazz, spirituals, gospel, and avant-garde contemporary music. He is featured on the recording of Wynton Marsalis' Abyssinian Mass as a conductor, with Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Chorale Le Chateau.
In April 2015, Sneed made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall for Wynton Marsalis' Abyssinian 200: A Celebration on the legendary Ronald O. Perelman Stage. Sneed has also ventured into the world of musical theater and has partnered with Tony Award winner George Faison as the musical director for CityParks Foundation's SummerStage production of The Wiz: A Celebration in Dance & Music in historic Central Park.
Sneed's other professional affiliations have included The Juilliard School, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the City University of New York, Nyack College, The Boys Choir of Harlem, the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Orchestra of St. Luke's, YAMAHA as an endorsed Influential Artist, and is a Hammond Suzuki USA artist. An acclaimed artist with a global reach, Sneed has performed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Europe, Japan, South America, Africa, and the United States.
A graduate of John S. Davidson Fine Arts School, Sneed has studied at some of the finest conservatories and universities, including Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Piano Performance; the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University; New York University, where he earned a Master of Music in Music Technology: Scoring for Film and Multimedia; and the Manhattan School of Music. Sneed will also graduate with his doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from USC in 2019.
Sneed recently joined the acclaimed staff of the Houston Grand Opera (HGOco) as Music Director and Composer in Residence and serves as cover conductor for HGO mainstage productions under Patrick Summers, Artistic and Music Director. He has been commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera to compose a new opera, Marian's Song, about the life of Marian Anderson, which will have its world premiere on March 5, 2020, at the Cullen Theater.
Sneed was also recently named a 2019 Artist-in-Residence at the Carr Center in Detroit, MI, along with Debbie Allen, George Shirley, and Savion Glover.
For more information on Damien Sneed and LeChateau Earl Records, go to www.damiensneed.com and www.lechateauearl.com.