Boston Children's Chorus to debut work by Berklee's Bill Banfield, isnpired by late AIDS activist
November 13, 2010
The Boston Children's Chorus on Nov. 13 will present the world premier of "Love Says," written specifically for the chorus by Composer-in-Residence Bill Banfield based on the poetry of AIDS activist and music therapist Samuel Hanser. Dr. Banfield, a professor of Africana Studies/Music and Society and the director of Africana Studies programs at Berklee College of Music, is composing three pieces of music for the chorus, to debut throughout the 2010-11 season. "It's great because he writes in an idiom that we're not used to," said BCC Artistic Director Anthony Trecek-King, who noted Banfield worked with the chorus two years ago to craft an arrangement of another piece. "There's a heavy jazz influence. It's a different language for us." BCC's top two choruses, the Premier Choir and Young Men's Ensemble, will premiere "Love Says" during their fall concert on Nov. 13 at Old South Church in Boston. It is based on a poem Banfield found in a book of poems by Hanser, a native of Newton, Mass., who died in January, and will also explore spiritual, emotional and celestial energy in works by Palestrina, Tallis, Grau, and Whitacre. Banfield was recently named composer in residence with BCC, which received a prestigious Gabriel Award earlier this year citing its "artistic, creative and inspirational media presentation" for the broadcast of its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert. It is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic arts education organization that purposefully unites area children ages 7-18 across differences of race, religion and economic status. The BCC's mission is to harness the power and joy of music as a catalyst to unite the diverse communities and inspire social change. To that end, the choir commissioned Dr. Banfield to compose new works, the first being, "Love Says." The poetry setting of Hanser, son of Berklee professor Suzanne Hanser, Chair of Music Therapy at the school, serves as a celebration of this young poet's creative artistry from several angles: the joy of creative expression and living. The work will premiere in Boston's historic Old South Church. Banfield was also recently commissioned to write a new symphony for internationally renowned Sweet Honey in the Rock, with performances of major symphonies across the country beginning in 2012. It is the first joint commissioned work of its kind for Sweet Honey. Banfield, signed to local management leader Ed Keane, was recently hired by Quincy Jones to write a national music curriculum for American public schools learning about American popular music. His music has been performed and/or recorded by; Bobby McFerrin, Patrice Rushen, Don Byron, Leon Bates, Najee, Ron Carter, Delfeayo Marsalis, Oliver Lake, Regina Carter, Rachel Z, Jon Fadis, Marcus Belgrave, Billy Childs, Nneena Freelon, Alphoso Johnson, Ndugu Chancelor, and Nelson Rangel and he has received recognition and grants from the National Endowment For The Humanities; National Endowment For The Arts; the Jerome, Lily, Lila Wallace; McKnight; Unisys; and Telluride foundations. More information is available at bostonchildrenschorus.org, billbanfield.com and manyblessingsbysam.com. About Boston Children's Chorus The Boston Children's Chorus harnesses the power and joy of music to unite our city's diverse communities and inspire social change. Our singers transcend social barriers in a celebration of shared humanity and love of music. Through intensive choral training and high-profile public performance experience (locally, throughout the U.S. and around the world), they learn discipline, develop leadership skills and proudly represent the city of Boston as ambassadors of harmony.