Brazeal Dennard Chorale bring ‘rich,’ ‘wonderful’ presentation of Negro Spirituals to the DSO
By Puakea Olaisha Anderson
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — The award-winning Brazeal Dennard Chorale, directed by Dr. Augustus Hill, presents its third annual Legacy Concert April 13 at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. International acclaimed tenor Rodrick Dixon and soprano Alfreda Burke are the headliners.
Dixon says the concert will be a “rich and wonderful” presentation of Negro Spirituals.
The late Brazel Dennard founded the chorale just over 40 years ago. Its mission is to remember, discover, preserve and share the Negro Spiritual as a part of the artistic community, and to rediscover and perform significant choral works by African American composers.
Dennard held a master’s degree in music education from Wayne State University; was a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; a music teacher in the Detroit Public Schools for many years, including Northwestern High School; and was an adjunct faculty member at Wayne State.
Collectively, the Chorale has 24 members under the direction of Dr. Augustus Hill, who has led the Chorale for over four years.
“I love music,” said Hill, conductor and composer. “I love to get in front of the crowd and bring the ensemble into fruition.”
The singers in the Brazeal Chorale represent a diverse cross section of local people including teachers, ministers, doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, mechanics and day laborers. The Dennard Brazeal Chorale landed gold and silver medal performances at the 2012 World Choir Games under the direction of Dr. Hill. Early this month, the Chorale performed along with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at the 35th annual Classical Roots Celebration founded by Brazeal Dennard.
Dennard conceived the idea of Classical Roots to raise awareness of the contributions of African Americans to classical music. In addition to participating in Classical Roots with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and presenting the Legacy Concert, the Brazeal Chorale’s yearly schedule features a variety of performances, including a Holiday Concert and Spring Pops Dinner Show, which highlights music from jazz to broadway and beyond.
Don Robinson, 80, the executive director of the Chorale, says, “The concert is important to the city of Detroit, particularly at this time, because music has the power to redeem and uplift souls.”
Tickets for the 4 p.m. Legacy Concert are $50 (box seats); $30 (general admission); and $20 (balcony).
For information about the Brazeal Dennard Chorale, contact 313.331.0378 or 313 823.5278 or the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Box Office at 313.576.5111. Orchestra Hall is located at 3711 Woodward in Midtown Detroit.