Celebrating Black History Month

It’s February, and so across many sectors, most of the United States is finding ways to celebrate the contributions of African-Americans to our society. As many of you may know, I specialize in traditional Spirituals, with a particular nod to research related to the Underground Railroad. My concert-lecture, A Spirituals Experience is one of my proudest works and my accompanying album, Feel the Spirit was a labor of love. In addition to my work with women composers, I find it important to champion the work of black classical composers as well. So, my upcoming performance with the Queens New Music Festival is something I very much look forward to. In addition to some lovely music performed by the ensemble, I will be the featured solo artist at a special preview concert for the Festival, featuring NEW arrangements of Spirituals, by David Fetherolf, in addition to some tried-and-true renditions of traditional favorites. There will also be inclusions of classical composers, such as Nadine Shanti and Florence Price. This is going to be an evening of celebration and remembrance that I shall not soon forget. While this performance is private, we will join forces again in May and I hope to see you there. Until that time, keep remembering the artistic - and other- contributions that African-Americans have made. I encourage you to learn more about contributions in the areas that interest you most, or perhaps learn something new. Either way, it’s sure to help you remember, so that we don’t forget the struggles and hurdles these pioneers faced in order to gain equal recognition for their talents. Happy Black History Month!

Yolanda Johnson