Choral Society For Preservation Of African American Song Concert Is May 28

Monday, May 16, 2011
The Choral Society for Preservation of African American Song.
The Choral Society for Preservation of African American Song.

Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song, under the direction of Roland Carter, will honor the memory of one of its founders and directors, Dr. Lee Norris Mackey, in a concert on Saturday, May 28, 5 p.m., at First Baptist Church at 401 Gateway Dr. The concert will feature Soprano, Gail Robinson-Oturo, and the CCSPAAS performing music of Don Lee White, Rosephanye Powell and Roland Carter.

“Dr. Mackey was a co-founder of the Society and a musician who loved the arts,” said CCSPAAS President James Toney. “He spent over 30 years teaching music. When he was not teaching, he was studying and perfecting his skills. He studied at Talladega College, the Juilliard School of Music, Paine College, Morgan State University and Tennessee State University.”

In 1984, Dr. Lee Norris Mackey undertook a research project to investigate the programming performance practices, and recordings of African American spirituals by choirs of Historically Black Colleges, and Universities. He found that there had been a significant decline in the performance of spirituals; thus the need, mission, and name of the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song were affirmed. Dr. Mackey sought and received funding from the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga to formally establish the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song in 1984.

Dr. Mackey taught music in the Chattanooga Public Schools System, where he directed highly acclaimed choral programs at both the Brainerd and Chattanooga High Schools. With its students, alumni, and friends, the membership base of the Society was expanded.

“The mission of the Society expanded to include art music of African American composers,” said CCSPAAS Director Roland Carter. “In 1990, the name changed to the Society for the Preservation of African American Song to reflect this expansion.”

Since 1990, Roland Carter, a distinguished conductor, pianist, composer and arranger also, a Howard alumnus and Simmons protégé, has directed CCSPAAS. Dr. Carter is the Ruth S. Holmberg Professor of American Music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He also serves as director of the Chancel Choir of the Cascade United Methodist Church of Atlanta, and artist-in-residence at the Christian Faith Baptist Church of Raleigh, N.C. He is the immediate past president of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., and serves on the boards of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and the League of American Orchestras. Under his guidance, CCSPAAS released their first recording "Close to Thee." Dr. Carter will step down as director at the end of the current season.

Don Lee White was a very close friend of Dr. Carter, who passed in September of 2010. He was part owner of the publishing company Mar-Vel founded by Dr. Carter in 1978. Mar-Vel was established to promote the music of African Americans composers and traditions. At the time of the company’s founding there was little interest in major publishers in the traditional spiritual and art music of African Americans.
Mar-Vel is recognized as a major source for “distinguished choral music of African American composers and traditions. Dr. Carter is editing White’s collection of hymns by African American composers spanning nearly 200 years. The Society will perform settings from Whites Beatitudes and Commandments.

Dr. Gail Robinson-Oturu will perform arrangements for voice and piano from Dr. Carter’s soon to be released Collection of Spiritual Art Songs. The settings Carter span a period of nearly 46 years, having completed his first arrangements for voice and piano in 1965. Dr. Oturu and Dr. Carter recently presented excerpts of the collection in Houston, TX for the biennial in-service conference of National Association for the Study and Performance of Africa American Music. Dr. Oturu is Professor of Voice at Austin Peay State University. The collection to be released in September of this year is dedicated in memory of Dr. Carter’s former student, long time friend and co-performer, Marilyn Thompson.

The Society will also include music by composer Rosephanye Powell. (Dr. Powell’s works are favorites among choirs all over the word. She is professor of music at Auburn University)

Selections from Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha will also be featured. The concert will end with two contemporary gospel songs Just For Me and Hallelujah is the Highest Praise.

Tickets for the May 28 performance are $10 and may be purchased the day of the performance at First Baptist – 401 Gateway Dr.

Videos Promote Famous Tall Betsy Return

Cleveland is having a celebration this year to honor the return of Tall Betsy to 150 Centenary Ave. The address in the historic district of downtown Cleveland is where the famous goblin made her most famous appearances during the ‘80s and drew crowds of thousands.  Tall Betsy retired in 1998 after drawing a crowd of 25,000. A helicopter film crew captured the event and ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Fire Department Has Halloween Open House

The Chattanooga Fire Department will open all 19 fire stations in Chattanooga from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Halloween, to give trick-or-treaters an up-close look inside a fire station. While there, children can look at the fire engines, talk with the firefighters, and get candy from the fire department, while supplies last.  Here are Halloween safety tips from the Chattanooga ... (click for more)

School Board Chooses Charlotte Firm For Superintendent Search Firm; Lennon, Testerman Want To Keep Kelly

The County School Board on Thursday night voted 5-4 to choose a Charlotte, N.C., search firm to pick a new county school superintendent. Coleman Lew and Associates was selected over McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha. That vote came after board members Kathy Lennon and David Testerman started the session by saying they are very pleased with Interim Supt. Kirk Kelly and would ... (click for more)

Judge Finds Young Guilty Of Lesser Charge In Fatal Wreck On Highway 58

Judge Tom Greenholtz on Wednesday found William Henry Young guilty of a lesser charge in a fatal traffic accident on Highway 58. The judge, who heard the case without a jury, ruled the 56-year-old former TVA employee guilty of criminally negligent homicide. He had been charged with vehicular homicide. Sentencing will be in December. Judge Greenholtz dismissed charges ... (click for more)

Accountability Doesn't Have To Be A Bad Word

Am I making a difference? Isn’t that the basic question we all ask ourselves, and seek to demonstrate to others?  Ronald Reagan said:  “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”   We would argue teachers do not have that problem either.    Educators make a huge difference ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Guess Who Backed Kelly?

Two weeks before the August election where three members of the Hamilton County School Board were angrily replaced, the organizer of what was called “a great way for the (challengers) to raise great money to help them run smart campaigns” made a bold statement. “I'm sure the current board is well-intentioned, but the results are not there," said Paul Brock. "Leadership matters ... (click for more)