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Essex County Choral Festival an Inspirational Afternoon

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Essex County Choral Festival an Inspirational Afternoon
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Essex County Choral Festival an Inspirational Afternoon
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Essex County Choral Festival an Inspirational Afternoon
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Under the artistic direction of Jason Asbury, the Essex County Choral Project called Sing Out! provided an inspirational afternoon of music performed by eight choirs representing a variety of musical, generational and geographical diversity.  Held in the beautiful Engelhardt Court at the Newark Museum, the project was designed to use choral music to build bridges between communities in Essex County-one of the most socio-economically and culturally diverse counties in the country.
 
An audience of around 500 people was treated to moving and vibrant music by a very talented range of performing choirs, soloists and conductors, including:  Elmwood United Presbyterian Church Celebration Mass Choir, Kol Dodi, Newark Boys Chorus, Oratorio Society of New Jersey, North Jersey Philharmonic Glee Club, Maplewood Glee Club, The Essex Chorale, and Voices In Harmony.
 
The concert opened with 300 singers performing a commissioned piece by Essex County composer, David Snyder based on Walt Whitman’s Song of the Universal under the direction of Vicki Carter.  The narrative of Essex County was brought to life with African-American Spirituals, Gospel selections, Jewish liturgical pieces, European classics and a Spanish piece by the Newark Boys Chorus.  All singers joined together to close the program with a moving performance of Allister MacGillivray’s Here’s To Song under the direction of Jason Asbury.  “This rare experience was a testament to the power of choral music to bring people together and collectively express musically what cannot be expressed with words.  Essex County’s strength lies within its diversity and this memorable experience demonstrated how that diversity can be celebrated,” says Asbury.
 
Dr. Clement Price, founder and director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience at Rutgers, gave the audience a perspective on the rich history of Essex County and a vision of the future that includes finding common ground within our diversity.
 
The event was co-sponsored by the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race and the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience and endorsed by twenty-five organizations around Essex County.  “I don't think I have ever come before an audience and felt comfortable enough to say, as I did Sunday, ‘Good afternoon, Essex County’” says Dr. Clement Price. 

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