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Celebrating Juneteenth with Musical Gems

Scott Jackson

In honor of Juneteenth, WHRO-FM will highlight the work of African American composers and performers in classical music, both past and present, on Wednesday, June 19. The Juneteenth holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and celebrates African American freedom, education, and achievement. Join us throughout the day to hear recordings from composers such as William Grant Still, Florence Price, Nathaniel Dett, and Valerie Coleman; conductors James DePreist and Damon Gupton; and performers including Leon Bates, Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Demarre and Anthony McGill, Lara Downes, the Sphinx Virtuosi, the Imani Winds, and more.

At 7:00 pm, Performance Today shares more music for Juneteenth, including composer Xavier Foley’s tribute to the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, along with music by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Errollyn Wallen, Louis Armstrong, and more.

And at 9:00 PM we’ll close out the day with a special edition of A Local Touch – Music With a Virginia Connection, curated by Raymond Jones. The program opens with a historic recording from the Library of Congress featuring Norfolk’s renowned Golden Gate Quartet. Moving forward in time and across the state, we'll hear the Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church Senior Choir from Newport News in a diverse repertoire including works by Haydn, Cesar Franck, and Randall Thompson.

The evening continues with recordings from two Norfolk State University faculty members: the late Emery Fears conducting a spirited march by Haydn Wood, followed by Weber’s elegant Bassoon Concerto featuring Stephanie Sanders, accompanied by Symphonicity under the baton of Daniel Boothe. The program then delves into orchestral majesty with “Symphony No. 2” by Adolphus Hailstork, a prolific Hampton Roads composer.

Highlighting the commemoration of Juneteenth, the broadcast features Hannibal Lokumbe’s oratorio “Dear Mrs. Parks,” conducted by Norfolk native Thomas Wilkins. Closing this exceptional evening, we present George Walker's Piano Concerto, showcasing the virtuosity of Natalie Hinderas with the Detroit Symphony conducted by Paul Freeman, who was born in Richmond, VA.

Tune in, or stream online, this Wednesday for a musical celebration honoring the achievements of African American classical musicians.