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SMTD DEI Recital with SMTD Faculty & Alumni

One Family: Celebrating Our Religious Diversity through a Performance of the Biblical Songs of Antonín Dvořák

  1. September 16 8:00pm
Walgreen Drama Center, Stamps Auditorium

This one-hour concert celebrates America’s diversity, both ethnic and religious.

Performers include a diverse group of SMTD faculty including Caroline Helton, Carmen Pelton, Scott Piper, George Shirley, and Louise Toppin and SMTD alumni , Rikki Morrow-Spitzer, Benjamin Sieverding, Kira Slovacek, and Kimberly Haynes Stephen. SMTD Professor Timothy Cheek will serve as pianist.

Religious leaders on the concert will be Rabbi Sara O'Donnell Adler, Chaplain, U-M Michigan Medicine, Imam Kamau Ayubbi, Chaplain, U-M Michigan Medicine, Rev. Fr. James P. Conlon, Pastor, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Ann Arbor, and Rev. Susan Schilperoort, retired Minister, Presbyterian Church USA.

While in New York in 1894, Czech composer Antonín Dvořák composed his cycle of ten Biblical Songs for voice and piano, set to various verses from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. Each song on this celebratory concert will be sung in the original Czech but preceded by an oral English translation of the particular psalm--recited, in turns, by a Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, a Muslim Imam, and a Protestant minister, as well as one by SMTD Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Freyja Harris.

The concert also celebrates ties between Czech composer Antonín Dvořák and the USA, as he taught for several years at the National Conservatory in New York City, and was the first to advocate our basing a national musical style on Negro Spirituals and Native American music at a time when American composers were looking to Europe for their model. Both George Gershwin and Duke Ellington studied with students of Dvořák; one student whom Dvořák befriended, African-American Harry T. Burleigh, went on to become an esteemed composer, and helped to make the Spiritual internationally known through his wonderful arrangements.

The concert also celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia in 1918, a democratic country under president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, with strong ties to America from the very beginning.

Free - no tickets required