Savannah Children’s Choir is mounting its biggest production to date in The Best of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert, on Sunday, April 30, at the Lucas Theatre. Choir co-founder and executive director, Roger Moss, said the Childrens Choir will be joined by “a cast of thousands.”
“We have the Savannah State University Chorale, the Johnson High School Choir,” Moss said. “We have a 14-piece big band. We have Aaron Parkhurst who teaches tap in New York as our featured tap dancer, and we have amazing soloists. We have DeVonne Gardner. DeVonne was actually discovered by Duke Ellington when she was 16 and she actually performed his second Sacred Concert. We’re so excited that our children get to work with her.”
“We also have Robert Sims who is an American Traditions gold medalist,” Moss continued. “We’re bringing back one of our alumni. Her name is Jasmine Thomas. She is a student at Howard University and she sings with the Howard University gospel choir.”
“This is part of the 75th anniversary of Roland Carter,” he explained. “Roland Carter, in the world of African American Music, is an icon. Roland will be conducting.”
Moss said Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts is rarely performed because the music is considered to be so difficult. This may be the first time a children’s choir has performed one of the most difficult pieces in the concert.
“Roland Carter re-wrote it for the Savannah Children’s Choir,” Moss noted.“ These are elementary and middle school kids doing four parts.”
“In the Children’s Choir we live in the land of high expectations and this is part of it,” he said. “The other reason we wanted to do this is we’re an intentionally diverse choir and we want an intentionally diverse audience. And so for one Sunday afternoon the audience in the Lucas Theatre will look very much like Savannah.”
Hear more of our conversation with Roger Moss in the audio link below.