Updates on Atlanta Music Festival, Emory Chamber Music, Capitol City Opera, Georgia Boy Choir

The first CD from the Atlanta Music Festival, “Guide My Feet: Songs of Aspiration, Hope & Progress,” has just been released.

Intending to unite communities and bridge traditions, the Rev. Dwight Andrews of First Congregational Church and Steven Darsey of the Atlanta music-worship group Meridian Herald launched the annual music festival in 2001. It was something of a homage to the Atlanta Colored Music Festival Association’s debut concert in 1910 that drew 2,000 blacks and whites, seated separately, to Atlanta’s Auditorium and Armory for a concert performed by African-American artists. One of the missions of that event was to encourage social healing after the Atlanta race riot of 1906.

Recorded in 2011 at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, the festival’s premiere CD covers a musical range from a dramatic re-creation of the freedom anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to T.J. Anderson’s avant-garde “Call and Response.” “Lift Every Voice,” James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson’s 1899 composition often referred to as “The Negro National Anthem,” is the CD’s centerpiece. The festival recruited and prepared 577 choral students in grades four through six from 16 Atlanta public and private schools for the separate Symphony Hall recording.

The CD features soprano Indra Thomas, tenor Timothy Miller, the Morehouse College Glee Club, the Meridian Chorale and the First Congregational Church Choir, with narration by Andrew Young and commentary by Andrews.

“Guide My Feet” is available via iTunes, Amazon.com, Google Play and CDBaby.com.

This year’s festival concert will be held at 7:30 p.m Oct. 10 at First Congregational Church, 105 Courtland St. N.E., Atlanta. www.atlantamusicfestival.org.

The Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta has announced its 22nd season, constituting more than 25 free noontime, family and evening concerts for audiences of various ages.

Highlights of the 2014-15 season include “Bach Under the Stars” (Sept. 21) at the Emory Planetarium; “Emory’s Kings of Keyboards” (Oct. 11), featuring organist Timothy Albrecht, jazz pianist Gary Motley and classical pianist William Ransom together on stage; “Babar the Elephant” (Oct. 26), with pianist Elena Cholakova performing Poulenc’s music and Lois Reitzes narrating; world premieres by Richard Prior (Oct. 18) and Paul Salerni (Nov. 22); and several performances by the Vega String Quartet, the first and only Atlanta-based professional string quartet.

Full schedule: arts.emory.edu/outreach/community/ecmsa.html.

You can't say that Capitol City Opera Company isn’t trying to connect with new audiences.

It's billing this weekend's performances of Franz Lehár’s comic operetta "The Merry Widow" as "a lively romp reminiscent 'The Bachelorette.'” We just know that Lehár, who died in 1948, well before the rise of reality TV, would have just adored the rose ceremony!

Performances at Oglethorpe University's Conant Performing Arts Center are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. $40; ages 60 and up, students or military with ID, $30.

While Capitol City is at it at the Conant, it also will give a single family performance of Engelbert Humperdinck’s "Hansel and Gretel" at 2 p.m. Saturday. Children 13 and under, $10; accompanying adults, free.

Tickets: 678-301-8013, www.ccityopera.org.

The Georgia Boy Choir, which has been an ensemble-in-residence at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church since the group’s inception in 2009, will now call the Buckhead church its full-time home. Rehearsals for all five of the choir’s levels, including 100 boys and young men aged 5 to 18, will be held there.

The move will allow the choir to expand its program. Executive director Adisa Nickerson said the choir is especially seeking boys ages 5 to 9 to join its apprentice and training choirs.

Top members of the choir toured England this summer, serving as the choir-in-residence for a week at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and singing at Hereford Cathedral. Watch a video of the latter performance here.

Information: 404-402-4083, www.georgiaboychoir.org.

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