The Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s Gospel Choir and Spiritual Ensemble have announced their 2012-2013 seasons, promising plenty of inspirational performances throughout the Charleston area from September through next April. The CSO Gospel Choir, founded in 1999, consists of 80-plus voices performing gospel music and spirituals. The CSO Spiritual Ensemble, more recently founded in 2008, is a 35-member ensemble which honors the “spiritual” and historical music born from the suffering and resilience of African slaves after arriving in the south.
The CSO Gospel Choir’s season opens with the production of 40 Acres and a Mule on Sept. 22. Taking place at Calvary Baptist Church, this production will tell an epic story through music and narration of emancipated African-Americans who continued to toil and survive as sharecroppers on nearby land where they were once enslaved.
The CSO Spiritual ensemble begins their season on Oct. 6th with Mozart Requiem: Ode to Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, honoring the Afro-French composer, violinist, and conductor referred to by Europeans as the “Black Mozart” with his classical music. Also in October, they’ll present Circa 1871: An Ode to the Fisk Jubilee Singers at Battery Creek High School Performing Arts center, with two encore performances later in February at the College of Charleston and in Walterboro in honor of African-American History Month.
In November and December, both singing groups will join forces to entertain with their 12th Annual CSO Gospel Christmas at the Sottile Theatre. They’ll return to North Charleston in January to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with their production of This Little Light of Mine: I’m Gonna Let It Shine, a moving musical portrait and multimedia performance. The Spiritual Ensemble will continue the celebration of Dr. King with Freedom Rides On: A Tribute to Freedom Riders that following Sunday.
To celebrate Palm Sunday in March, the Gospel Choir welcomes the holy season with their performance of The Wind and the Mocking Bird: Story of How The Written Word Changed Society. The season closes with a bang with the Fifth Annual Charleston International Festival of Choirs in April, which both groups will be performing in. The festival, free to the public, will take place over three days with performances by vocal ensembles from around the world, concluding with a dramatic combined Massed Sing performance directed by guest conductor Dr. Rollo Dilworth.