Black Chorus concert shares a message of inspiration

By Natalie Stewart

Music with a message: Black Chorus hopes to inspire and teach determination at their next concert Sunday.

Resilience and determination are only two of the many narratives Black Chorus seeks to tell through their performance in the fall concert Sunday under the direction of Dr. Ollie Watts Davis.

This year, Black Chorus’ fall concert is entitled “Perseverance: Ever Onward.”

Davis said she chose this theme because she felt it was the most relevant to the world around her and the lives of her students.

“I look at the strength of the music that we are committed to performing and what message is needed from our cultural and physical background,” Davis said. “So what’s going on globally and at the University, and of course, internationally. I believe that there is a strong need to persevere.”

But perseverance does not end with the last curtain call. This fall’s concert theme reinforces the lessons and values taught every Monday and Wednesday in rehearsals.

“Dr. Davis said one thing when I was a freshman: ‘Hope is a dangerous thing because hope can never be defeated.’ And that has literally stuck with me since she said it four years ago,” Erica Thomas, president of Black Chorus and senior in LAS, said. “I think that has resonated with me, even through the music we sing. When I’m having a rough time, I think of that quote. And I’m just like, you know what, when it might not seem like it’s going how you want it to be just have hope, have faith.”

Davis sees it as a necessity that every University student experience Black Chorus sometime during their time here. Each concertgoer has the opportunity to learn a lesson from the show.

“There’s a need to stay the course. There’s a need to maintain the integrity of the festival upon which we are found, upon which we believe and stay the course,” Davis said. “And so that’s why this fall concert is entitled “Perseverance” and subtitled “Ever Onward” because we are on our way some place. We are not going to just curse the darkness or the difficulty, but we hope to cast light and move forward.”

Jazmyne Thomashttps://theatre.illinois.edu/productions/past-productions/2010-2011/93-studiodance-i-2011 JT, secretary for the chorus and senior in ACES, said concert attendees should expect to hear a variety of music.

“I think that they should expect to be inspired, to be uplifted,”Jazmyne said. “They should expect not to just receive one style of music, but come with an open mind knowing that African-American heritage has a lot of different sounds to it.”

Davis invites the audience to be a part of the experience holistically.

“The audience can expect to be transformed, inspired and they can expect to be engaged and invited to become part of the presentation,” Davis said.ALL CHECKED JT

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