B-CU to present opera, jazz and more during free Spring Concert

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Highlights from the popular folk opera “Porgy and Bess’’ will be presented Sunday, April 10, by Bethune-Cookman University’ s Concert Chorale. The songs will be performed during the university’s Spring Concert at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center, 698 W. International Speedway Blvd.

Bethune-Cookman’s Concert Chorale will perform Sunday during the annual Spring Concert.
Bethune-Cookman’s Concert Chorale will perform Sunday during the annual Spring Concert.

The Concert Chorale, directed by Damon Dandridge, and the Symphonic Band, conducted by Donovan Wells, will offer the community an evening of entertainment featuring sounds from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” as well as “Rhapsody in Blue.’’

In addition, the Symphonic Band will welcome special guest pianist Dr. Hezekiah Brinson Jr.  The concert is a family affair. It’s free and open to the public.

B-CU’s first lady, Florence E. Jackson, will host a pre-performance reception from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Guest pianist
“Porgy and Bess’’ takes place on Catfish Row, a fictitious Black tenement (once a mansion of the aristocracy) on the waterfront of Charleston, South Carolina circa 1930.

It tells the story of Porgy, a disabled street-beggar, who attempts to rescue Bess from the clutches of Crown, her violent and possessive lover, and Sportin’ Life, her drug dealer. All of the roles will be sung by current members of the Concert Chorale and Opera Workshop Program.

The Symphonic Band will open with a flourishing concert fanfare that is sure to grab the audience’s attention. The remainder of the program will consist of masterworks, sacred literature, and scores from the original “Rhapsody in Blue,’’ featuring guest pianist Hezekiah Brinson from New Orleans.

The band also will offer sounds from jazz musician Louis Armstrong.

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