Denison University Gospel Choir Lifts Voices in Concert of Spirituals
Posted: February 9, 2003
The Denison University Gospel Choir and the Raise Chorale, under the direction of Raymond Wise, will perform a concert of choral spirituals titled "21 Spirituals for the 21st Century" at 7 p.m., Saturday (Feb. 21) in Swasey Chapel. Admission is free and open to the public.
The music program features 21 new concert spirituals arrangements that have been arranged and/or composed by Wise along with their stories, messages and meaning. The Raise Chorale is composed of 60 singers drawn from the Raise Mass Choir, the Ohio State University Gospel Choir, and the Columbus community. A second performance will be held at 5 p.m., Sunday (Feb. 22) at Faith Ministries Church, 2747 Agler Rd., Columbus. A freewill offering will be received at this performance.
The Negro Spiritual has served as a primary musical source from which many sacred and secular musical genres have stemmed. Wise began arranging spirituals and composing new songs that retained the spirit of the "Oral Spiritual" and the style of the "Concert Spiritual" with the intent of making Concert Spirituals more accessible to choirs and groups who might not otherwise be exposed to or perform them. A CD of the "21 Spirituals" collection will be available in the early spring.
Wise hopes that this collection will help to preserve the cultural and musical heritage of spirituals into the 21st century and beyond. Moreover, it is his hope that the compositions will speak to man's struggle for faith, hope and assurance in the 21st century.
Wise earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in music from Denison University and a master's and doctorate in music education and his Ohio teacher's certification from the Ohio State University. He is also founder and president of Raise Productions, a gospel production company in Columbus. In addition, Wise teaches courses in African-American gospel music and spirituals at several universities within Ohio, including Denison and Ohio State and serves as an associate minister at Faith Ministries Interdenominational Church in Columbus.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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