In a convergence of talent and festive spirit, the Bowie State University Choir took center stage at the Dionne Warwick Theatre at the BSU Fine and Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, presenting a mesmerizing performance during the Community Messiah Sing-Along. As the University Choir, under the masterful direction of Brandon J. Felder, prepared to take the audience on a sonic journey, the anticipation was palpable. Attendees lined up early before the doors opened. There was not an empty seat in the house.
Felder promised a musical experience that transcended genres, blending influences from gospel, jazz, and holiday favorites. True to his word, the performance unfolded as a holiday show with a distinctive Bowie State twist, offering a delightful fusion that resonated with attendees of all tastes. The choir’s rendition of Handel’s Messiah, coupled with the diverse musical influences, created an immersive experience that left the audience enchanted.
Joined at various times by a community orchestra and a youth choir comprising students from Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Anne Arundel County Public Schools, the stage was set for an unforgettable evening. The orchestra was also a flawless display of musical artistry.
The star-studded lineup of guest artists each brought their unique flair to the stage. From the soaring notes of Metropolitan Opera’s Angeli Ferrette to the soulful melodies of Howard University’s Kehembe Eichelberger, the stage was graced by an array of vocal virtuosos. It was a treat when the famed composer, pianist, organist, and vocalist Evelyn Currenton left her post on the organ to perform her very own “Come Unto Him” with soloist Jamari Blagmon and the BSU Dance Collective.
Countertenor G. Thomas Allen added a churchy spin on “And He Blessed My Soul.”
Marvin Meyer McCoy did an exceptional turn on Ye People Rend Your Heart as Meachum L. Clarke served as director. McCoy’s range and vocal dexterity captivated the audience as he took command of the song and state. A phenomenal performance!
From the jubilant gospel refrains to the soul-stirring jazz interludes, every note carried the spirit of the season and the unique essence of Bowie State University.
In the grand finale, the collective voices of the choir, the orchestra, and the youth ensemble harmonized in a crescendo of festive joy with the Hallelujah Chorus. The Community Messiah Sing-Along became more than just a concert; it transformed into a celebration of unity, community, and the boundless magic of music. As the applause reverberated through the Fine and Performing Arts Center, it was clear that Bowie State University Choir had not only hosted a musical event but had orchestrated an unforgettable celebration of the holiday season.
The echoes of this harmonious night were a true testament to the university’s commitment to musical brilliance and the magic it brings to the community. Brandon J. Felder painstakingly crafted a well-honed event that showcased what the choir had to offer but also the amazing talents accessible within the DMV community.
To find out more about the oldest HBCU in Maryland, visit www.bowiestate.edu
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