DPO goes to church with classical and gospel music

The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s uplifting, faith- and community-based Stained Glass Series opens its 2016-2017 season Sunday, March 19 at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.

Under the leadership of DPO Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, the concert will feature four diverse works. Audiences will be treated to Beethoven’s sprightly “Symphony No. 8,” commonly regarded as “the little Symphony in F,” Scott Joplin’s “Solace,” a component of the popular soundtrack from the 1973 Academy Award-winning caper “The Sting,” Dumisani Maraire’s “Mai Nozipo,” and Kurt Carr’s inspirational gospel ballad “For Every Mountain.”

"The idea behind the Stained Glass Series has always been to focus on traditional classical repertoire and also to include music by African and African-American composers," Gittleman explained. "This has both an educational goal (in terms of) helping people learn more about our art form and an artistic goal (in terms of) creating varied concert programs that show links across cultures and musical styles. So, putting a Beethoven symphony alongside a piece by Dumsani Maraire makes perfect sense."

Gittleman is particularly excited for the opportunity to present the Beethoven piece because it has always been one of his favorites.

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“Symphonies of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven are the heart and soul of the classical side of the Stained Glass repertoire,” he said. “Given that we’re talking hour-long concerts, the bigger Beethoven symphonies like the Eroica and the Ninth are pretty much out of the question. But the Eighth is one Beethoven symphony we’ve never played in Stained Glass and haven’t played at all in seven years.”

In addition, "Mai Nozipo," written by Zimbabwean composer Maraire, is the opening song on the Kronos Quartet's "Pieces of Africa" CD. It has been described as a "rousing, triumphant anthem with a resonant melodic line that will long linger."

“‘Mai Nozipo’ is a piece I’ve loved ever since I heard it on Kronos Quartet’s ‘Pieces of Africa’ CD, and it’s been on my we-ought-to-play-this-on-Stained-Glass list for quite some time,” Gittleman noted. “And Scott Joplin is on the program not just because he’s Scott Joplin. He’s extra-special this season because April 1, 2017 is the centennial of his death.”

Also, the Calvary Missionary Baptist Church Choir will join the DPO musicians for the aforementioned finale “For Every Mountain.”

The Stained Glass Series continues June 11 at 5 p.m. at Inspiration Church in Dayton and June 25 at4 p.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Dayton. The series is a part of community outreach efforts called the Norma Ross Memorial Community Concerts in honor of the late Mrs. Norma Ross, a tireless arts and diversity advocate.


What: DPO Stained Glass Series at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church

Where: 2067 North Gettysburg Ave., Dayton

When: March 19; 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

More info: Call Dayton Performing Arts Alliance at (937) 224-3521 or Calvary Missionary Baptist Church at (937) 279-0580

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