Friday, January 18, 2013
The show goes up on campus with President David Wilson in the leading role.
He has managed to have the support of the entire University, alumni and community in maintaining his position as President. There was talk that his contract was not going to be renewed. However, the community (chorus), with great resonance had their say.
The show goes on as Dr. Wilson adds to his role the ground breaking, for a new building to be added to the campus. Heightened security measures, and an already increase in student enrollment continues during his run of the play. He also has the distinction of procuring the University's largest-ever research contract, $28.5 million. I would say he deserves to have an encore. Take a bow Dr. Wilson!
The next scene displays the magnificent vocal gifts of Ms. Leah Hawkins (Mezzo-soprano). She stands out as one of the young voices that truly bring to mind the rich heritage of her predecessors. We in the vocal studies salute her recent accomplishment of being selected to participate in the in The Mid-Atlantic Region Metropolitan Council Auditions at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. During the development of her role in The Fine Arts department of Morgan State, she has grown from grace to grace; the voice giving us only glimpses, of what we all know to be true. We are witnessing the birth of a world class singer.
In act two, the scene is set at the Murphy Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, the site for the Capital Region Competition of the “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation’s Grady Rayam Prize in Sacred Music hosted by the Vocal Studies program. We will convene a jury of seasoned artists and educators to adjudicate seventeen young high school singers who aspire to a college education. We will bear witness to their ability to bring to the scene, both traditional and a newly arranged Negro Spirituals. These young singers will share the purity, richness and beauty of these national treasures. Who will earn the honor of carrying on this legacy and great tradition on Saturday, February 16, 2013?
The next scene serves to remind us that true excellence stands the test of time.
Coming to the stage of The Murphy Fine Arts Center in The Gilliam Concert Hall we are taken on a journey that will leave us with a most delicious taste. "Sweet Honey in the Rock" on March 8, 2013 will bring a musical gift of nostalgia that fills with joy, those of us who remember, and help to educate and enlighten the young people of a new generation.
Once again the curtain rises April 11, 2013 on the Department of Fine and Performing Arts collaboration of the Broadway show "The COLOR PURPLE". This production is directed by Shirley Basfield Dunlap and with musical direction by Melvin N. Miles. As a part of this departmental collaboration the voice faculty has assisted with the auditioning and casting of the show. It was an honor to collaborate on a team so devoted to excellence and committed to putting in place a beautiful collage of characters and voices that warm the heart. In this process, I observed Ms. Dunlap’s gift for details and her skillful ability to make the scene memorable.
In this last act we are shown how dreams come true. Back in the 1960's a young man who happened to be a dear friend, expressed his disdain for the fact that African American Ballet dancers were being ignored in this country. He himself was the only working black male ballet dancer at that time, other than John Jones of Jerome Robbins Ballet USA. Of course I speak of none other than Arthur Mitchell, soloist in the famed New York City Ballet.
Arthur was our token black, and dreamed of someday having an all-black ballet company. Well that dream has for a long time been realized and on May 5, 2013 "The Dance Theatre of Harlem" Directed and Choreographed by Arthur Mitchell will dazzle the audiences of Murphy Fine Arts Center in the Gilliam Concert Hall.
So for now the CURTAIN AT MORGAN descends. Only to rise again and share with you the artistic beauty and academic excellence that is, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY.