October 15, 1998
University Gazette


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Concert to Feature Centennial Performance of Work by Composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

The Cambridge Community Chorus will present a special commemorative concert of works by African-English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m.

The concert is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Harvard's Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs.

The concert features the centennial performance of Coleridge-Taylor's Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, Wills Morgan, tenor soloist; the Violin Concerto in g minor, Op. 80, John McLaughlin Williams, violin soloist; and two choral ballads: The Slave Singing at Midnight and The Quadroon Girl, E. Duane Heard, baritone soloist. This musical celebration will be directed by William Thomas.

Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, based on the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow epic poem, "The Song of Hiawatha," is considered Coleridge-Taylor's most famous and beloved work.

Hiawatha's Wedding Feast found instant audience appeal in his native England and also gained immense popularity here in the United States. At the turn of the century, Hiawatha's Wedding Feast was so popular with concert-goers that it rivaled the celebrity of Handel's Messiah and Mendelssohn's Elijah. A number of choral societies were formed specifically to perform Coleridge-Taylor's music and often bore his name.

The 100th anniversary of Coleridge-Taylor's Hiawatha's Wedding

Feast has historical significance for the Boston area because of

Longfellow's ties to the Cambridge community and to Harvard University.

"The Coleridge-Taylor Centennial Celebration is such a very special

project," states conductor Thomas. "Our concert comes at a time when there

is much focus being given to the restoration of Longfellow's Cambridge

residence on Brattle Street. Add to that the fact that Coleridge-Taylor was

one of the first black composers to achieve widespread recognition both in

Europe and in America, and that Longfellow was the poet laureate to a

century of American schoolchildren, you can tell the performance will be

the kind of evening that celebrates history, people, poetry, and music."

During the next several weeks, and as part of the centennial

celebration of Coleridge-Taylor's Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, the chorus will

sponsor a traveling audio-visual exhibit displaying materials about Samuel

Coleridge-Taylor and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Cambridge City Hall will

be one of the display sites, as well as the lobby of HMV Records in

Harvard Square.

The concert will take place in Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St. General admission is $10. Tickets are available at the Sanders Theatre box office, 496-2222; TTY 495-1642; noon-6 daily. Sanders Theatre is handicapped accessible. Limited free parking is available at the Broadway Garage, located on Felton Street between Kirkland and Broadway.


Copyright 1998 President and Fellows of Harvard College