One of the nation’s oldest contemporary majority African-American community orchestras was in Dallas to celebrate music from various genres from the young to the young at heart.
The Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra was formed in 1983 under the umbrella of the nonprofit Community Music Center of Houston (CMCH). Founder and music director Anne Lundy says its three purposes are to give African American instrumentalists opportunities to perform together, to explore and perform music written by Black composers and to be an example to the Black community that orchestras can include people that look like them.
On April 30, the orchestra put together an entertaining night of music by Black composers and performers including John Legend, Duke Ellington, Whitney Houston, spirituals and more. The Billie K. Roberts Youth Chorale also performed several numbers.
Since its inception, the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra has performed mainstream works such as Handel's Messiah as well as significant, lesser-known music by Black composers. These pieces have included works by African Americans, African-French, African-English and African-born composers, some of them world-premiered by SJCO. Though most performances have been held in Black churches, a few concerts have been performed in renowned venues.
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The event was sponsored by the African American Museum, Dallas