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Gospel Choirs and RPO Rejoice in Concert at Eastman Theatre

February 27, 2009

AKOMA, Voices of Thunder, and RPO to be featured

Rochester, NY – The sounds of orchestra and gospel voices will blend together to become one community in a special concert on Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 pm at the Eastman Theatre when the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, under Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, joins two acclaimed Rochester gospel choirs, AKOMA and Voices of Thunder in Total Praise: One Voice, One City

The RPO is grateful to this concert’s sponsors, Louise Woerner and Donald Kollmorgen.  This performance also celebrates the 175th Anniversary of the City of Rochester.

The spotlight will shine singularly and collaboratively on the RPO, AKOMA, and Voices of Thunder in a variety of works including Amazing Grace, Come Sunday from Duke Ellington’s suite “Black, Brown, and Beige,” and Richard Smallwood’s arrangement of Total Praise, among many others. The finale will culminate in all three groups together performing Oh, Happy Day arranged by Dr. Henry Panion.

“In light of the many recent local triumphs and tragedies, celebrations and concerns, we at the RPO feel it is time to bring our community together through the universal language of music for a joyous and inspirational program of unity,” said RPO President & CEO Charlie Owens.  “Total Praise also is an important example of our commitment to enhance the diversity of our programs and our audiences.”

Tickets will be sold under a “pay what you can” policy with no minimum donation and general admission seating. Tickets may be purchased in advance in-person at the RPO Box Office at 108 East Avenue, or at the door beginning one hour prior to the concert.   Box office hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm (non-concert Saturdays, 10:00 am-3:00 pm). 

AKOMA is Rochester’s African American women’s gospel choir whose West African Akan name means patience, endurance, consistency, and faithfulness.  Voices of Thunder is a citywide men’s African-American gospel choir which performs throughout the Rochester area and raises funds to support scholarships for youth in our community.

“If ‘music is the voice of God,’ as a gospel song proclaims,” said AKOMA Founder Dr. Arlette Miller Smith, “then the musical artistry of AKOMA, the RPO, and the Voices of Thunder will create a heavenly sweetness right here on earth.”



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