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.


Sea Cadet Hunter Vespie Receives DAR Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award

Hunter Vespie is a 16-year-old female, Petty Officer First Class with the United States Naval Sea Cadets Corps – Signal Mountain Division.  When her Commanding Officer Stacy Kehoe told her about the Tennessee Daughters of the American Revolution project “Phones for Veterans,” Hunter decided to take the project to her hometown of Lancing, Tn., with the goal of raising enough ... (click for more)

Heritage House Craft And Crop Set For Nov. 6

The Heritage House Craft and Crop will be held on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 6-9 p.m. at Heritage House Arts and Civic Center, 1428 Jenkins Road. This is part of the monthly Ambi Artist Meeting.  Participants can come, whether designing clothes or costumes, painting a portrait, scrapbooking, crocheting, making jewelry, or whatever the craft of choice.   ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Chattanooga Police Department, And Community Members Reach Out To Group Members To End Violence

The city of Chattanooga held a call-in on Thursday night, as part of the Violence Reduction Initiative. Dozens of law enforcement officials, community members, social service providers and clergy gathered to deliver a message to over 20 members of violent groups in Chattanooga. Family members of the probationers watched the call-in from another building. Although the call-in was ... (click for more)

Tribute Service For Luther Masingill Held At Historic Engel Stadium

It took a place as big as historic Engel Stadium for Chattanooga to say goodbye to their beloved Luther. Hundreds came Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to Luther Masingill who died early Monday morning after a radio career that spanned an amazing 74 years. It was clear from all who spoke that he was considered not only a radio personality, but also a role model. One after ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pete Carroll’s Philosophy

Pete Carroll, the head football coach of the Seattle Seahawks, has a deep belief that he can change people by simply listening to them and then making suggestions on how they can get what they really want. If the people Carroll who can influence win, Carroll wins, and remember his team won last year’s Super Bowl with his methods.   When asked for example, here is what ... (click for more)