Chorus hits social note in spirituals, swing tunes

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PORTLAND – Women in Harmony, a chorus of women’s voices dedicated to the power of music to further social justice, will present “Get on Board,” a concert of choral music Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 20-21, at State Street Church.

“Get on Board” highlights the African-American experience, with the first portion of the program dedicated to traditional spirituals, as well as some 20th century songs, including Sweet Honey in the Rock’s “Breaths;” “Nigra Sum,” an arrangement of the “Song of Songs,” by Pablo Casals; and “Strange Fruit,” the song made famous by Billie Holliday that woke America up to the evils of lynching.

This segment will conclude with an arrangement of “Get on Board,” by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory.

The second half of the concert features works by Edward Elgar, Stephen Chatman, Randall Thompson and several pieces by George and Ira Gershwin, including “Embraceable You,” “Clap Yo’ Hands” and a medley of well-loved Gershwin swing tunes.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 and at 3 p.m. Jan. 21. It will be led by Music Director Catherine Beller-McKenna, with piano accompaniment by Deana Ingraham Gurney.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door; $10 for seniors and students with ID. Children under 12 admitted free. For ticket and other information, go online to www.wihmaine.org, or send an e-mail to wihmaine@gwi.net.

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