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Black history with finesseFree ISO concert honors Black experience

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Black History Month is here, and many people are looking for unforgettable ways to celebrate.

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO), in collaboration with the Indianapolis Recorder has a special, free opportunity to enjoy this important month with fun, class and style.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9 the ISO will host its annual Celebration of Black History concert at the Hilbert Circle Theater downtown.

“We have been presenting the Black history celebration for 25 years now, and we are definitely looking forward to this year’s installment,” said Tim Northcutt, associate director of communications for the ISO.

The ISO would like everyone to be able to attend the event, and is therefore offering it to the community at no charge.

Next week’s concert will feature African-American conductor Chelsea Tipton II, performances by the Voices of the Light Chorus and the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, as well as smooth sounds from the musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

The concert will highlight a series of songs that are significant to Black history and the African-American experience. In particular, several songs by famous Black composers will be played, including “Solitude” and a medley of hits by legendary jazz band leader Duke Ellington, movements of “Afro-American Symphony” by maestro William Grant Still and the cultural favorite “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by songwriter John Weldon Johnson.

Also featured will be the compositions “Carnival Overture” by Antonin’ Dvorak, John Williams’ gripping “Dry Your Tears, Afrika” from the Steven Spielberg film “Amistad” and the traditional classic “Ride On, King Jesus.”

The 2010 Celebration of Black History concert is just one of several events that the ISO is offering this year to reach out to the public.

The next event will be the ISO debut of African-American pianist Terrence Wilson, who will appear on Feb. 19 with Larry Rachleff as they play a succession of vintage classics by Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.

Established in 1930, the ISO is the state’s largest professional performing arts organization, and is one of only 17 full-time orchestras in the United States and Canada. The busy orchestra performs an average of 200 concerts each year for more than 350,000 loyal patrons.

The ISO has received praise and awards for the diversity of its community outreach programs. CEO Simon Crook said the Celebration of Black History Month concert is an important event that helps the orchestra meet its goal of educating everyone about the power and positive impact of music.

“We are very excited about the extraordinary variety of programs we have this season,” Crookall said. “Our audiences will be able to hear some of the world’s most popular music with some outstanding artists, performed by one of America’s great symphony orchestras. This is truly a world-class experience here in Indiana.”

Celebrate your history!

What: ISO Celebration of Black History concert

When: Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Hilbert Circle Theatre, 45 Monument Circle

Admission: FREE!

For more info: Call box office at (317) 639-4300 or 1-800-366-8457. You may also visit www.indianapolissymphony.org.

About the guest conductor

Chelsea Tipton II recently became music director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas after seven years conducting the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. A sought-after guest conductor, Tipton has appeared with major orchestras in the United States and has taught courses at several universities. He has won praise from audiences and critics alike with his vibrant musicality, versatility and commitment to education outreach. Visit his Web site at www.chelseatipton.com.

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