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JALC Announces ‘Abyssinian’ Tour

Jazzed Magazine • News • September 6, 2013

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The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Damien Sneed, and the 70-piece Chorale Le Chateau recently announced the Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour, a “historic hand-clappin’, tambourine-slappin’ celebration” scheduled to take place in performing arts centers and churches in the U.S.

On this unique tour, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Damien Sneed, and Chorale Le Chateau will perform Marsalis’ composition Abyssinian Mass, a landmark collaboration of jazz, gospel, instrumentation, and vocals. Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour kicks off in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on October 3 and ends in Boston, Massachusetts on October 27.

Since Marsalis composed and recorded In This House, On This Morning two decades ago, he has remained committed to projecting a theme of universal humanism – and raising a joyful noise – while reflecting the form of the African American church service. His 2008 extended work Abyssinian Mass was commissioned to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church on West 138th Street in Harlem.

In select cities, Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour will include education initiatives curated by conductor Damien Sneed and utilizing the talents of gospel artist and educator Karla Scott to engage thousands of high school age choir students to community choir members. In workshop settings, the young participants will study and perform select movements from Abyssinian Mass. These workshops will be supported by online videos featuring Damien Sneed discussing the history of gospel music, cultural background and its relevant styles, as well as specific rehearsal techniques.

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