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Mendelssohn Choir Of Pittsburgh Offers Free Virtual Series On Global Choral Traditions


The virtual series begins January 2021, with a new session each month through April.

While the pandemic continues to keep us apart physically, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (MCP) is offering a way to connect musically and across cultures. In the new year, the choir will present Global Choral Traditions, a live, interactive, virtual exploration of choral music from around the world.

Over the four sessions of Global Choral Traditions, experts from Gospel, Appalachian, Bulgarian and South African choral traditions will teach participants about what makes each style unique, as well as about the elements they share as branches of choral music, one of the oldest and most ubiquitous of human art forms. All sessions are free and open to everyone, no singing experience required.

The virtual series begins January 2021, with a new session each month through April. In each session, a different artist will teach participants about their choral tradition and then lead the group in learning and singing along to a choral work from that tradition.

Wed, Jan. 13 (7:30 p.m. EST): Lonnie Norwood, Gospel MusicWed, Feb. 3 (7:30 p.m. EST): Suzannah Park, Music of AppalachiaWed, Mar. 3 (7:30 p.m. EST): Elitsa Stoyneva Krastev, Bulgarian Folk SingingSat, Apr. 10 (11:00 a.m. EST): Bongani Magatyana, Traditional South African Music

All sessions will be live. Since Bongani Magatyana will be teaching from South Africa, his session will be in the morning, to accommodate the time difference.
Each teaching artist is a culture-bearer of the tradition they will be presenting.

  • Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Lonnie Norwood is a choral conductor, choral clinician and organizer who credits his extensive work in arts, outreach and advocacy to his church upbringing.
  • A native of Asheville, NC, vocal teacher Suzannah Park comes from three generations of traditional singers, storytellers and dancers and has been touring and teaching for more than 20 years in the U.S. and abroad.
  • A seven-time gold medalist in traditional folk singing from Targovishte, Bulgaria, Elitsa Stoyneva Krastev grew up surrounded with the beauty of Bulgarian traditional singing.
  • A singer, music director, composer and theatrical producer living in Gugulethu Township, South Africa, Bongani Magatyana conducts the 120-voice OAC Choir, and his folk-inspired choral compositions are sung by choirs in South Africa and internationally.

"This series gives us an opportunity to explore the rich diversity of choral music and learn about choral traditions that are very different from what MCP and other symphonic choruses typically perform," says Music Director Matthew Mehaffey. "At a time when a global pandemic has disrupted many of the ways we're used to coming together, Global Choral Traditions gives music lovers a way to engage with that which makes us more human, and therefore, more connected to each other."

Global Choral Traditions is hosted by the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and the Oratorio Society of Minnesota in collaboration with Village Harmony, a nonprofit organization with activities around the world welcoming singers of all colors, creeds, ethnicities, nationalities, gender orientations and socio-economic backgrounds. Since 1988, Village Harmony has developed a strong international presence through its many study/performance programs, professional recordings, and innovative online learning opportunities.

The series is free and open to the public. Registration required. Sign up now at this link to receive your exclusive Zoom weblink to participate.

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