Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh to Offer Free Series on Global Choral Traditions for a Second Year

Participants may attend these interactive sessions virtually or in-person.

By: Jan. 03, 2022
Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh to Offer Free Series on Global Choral Traditions for a Second Year

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh is bringing back its Global Choral Traditions series for a second season, inviting the public to explore rich traditions of global choral music with local artists, through both listening and singing. Sessions are FREE OF CHARGE and open to everyone - no singing experience required. This year, participants may choose between attending virtually or in-person at City of Asylum.

The two sessions of the 2022 Global Choral Traditions curriculum are African American Sacred Music with Dr. Herbert V.R.P. Jones, on Jan. 25, and Shape Note Singing with Penny Anderson, on April 26.

"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 Robert Page Music Director Matthew Mehaffey. "We're excited to continue this series with new offerings and the chance to sing together both virtually and in-person."

MCP is thrilled to celebrate Pittsburgh's own choral traditions by partnering with local artists and establishing a new partnership with local organization City of Asylum.


Tuesday, Jan. 25, 7:00 p.m. EST

African American Sacred Music
with Dr. Herbert V.R.P. Jones

Dr. Herbert V.R.P. Jones is Founder/Director of The Heritage Gospel Chorale of Pittsburgh, and is one of the nation's foremost figures in choral conducting and pedagogy and an expert in the intersection between theology and musical expression. A Southern transplant to Pennsylvania, Dr. Jones has cultivated a broad-based, multifaceted career as a choral conductor, educator, operatic and oratorio bass, liturgical dancer, orator and pastor, teaching and performing across the United States and Europe.

African American sacred music was born out of the lived experiences of Black enslaved peoples and serves as an integral part of their music, culture, politics, social organization, education, and ways of being and learning that they brought with them from Africa. This tradition encompasses everything from 19th-century concert spirituals to modern praise and worship songs in genres from the blues to hip-hop, and it is used to practice devotion, offer comfort, teach virtue, recall history and doctrine, and celebrate special days.

Tuesday, April 26, 7:00 p.m. EST

Shape-Note Singing with Penny Anderson

Penny Anderson is a life-long singer of choral music and traditional folksong. Classically trained in music theory, voice, and piano, she has a repertoire of several hundred traditional folk songs from the American, British Isles, and French traditions, and has written dozens of original songs and choral pieces. Anderson organizes the Pittsburgh monthly shape-note sing; leads the women's chorus Sorora; sings a grab-bag of music from many eras as part of the duo Monongahela Harmony; composes, arranges, and sings with the Pittsburgh Compline Choir; and is learning to play the concertina. She would rather sing than do anything else.

Shape-note singing is a musical practice and tradition of social singing from music books printed in shape notes. Shape notes are a variant system of Western musical notation whereby the note heads are printed in distinct shapes to indicate their scale degree and solmization syllable (fa, sol, la, etc.). Since 1801 shape notes have been associated with American sacred music, specifically with singing schools, with musical conventions, and with all-day gatherings known as "singings."

Registration for both virtual and in-person participation is required. There is limited capacity for the in-person events, so those interested are encouraged to register early at this link. Please note: there is a two ticket maximum per party. All live events will be held at the Alphabet City Stage at City of Asylum, 40 W North Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

A note on COVID Protocols: Proof of vaccination is required for entry to all concerts. Children under 12 and guests who need reasonable accommodations due to a medical exception or a sincerely held religious belief must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours. Masks will be required of all patrons whenever Allegheny County is in the CDC's "substantial" or "high" community transmission levels (which, as of today, it currently is).