Emory University, Atlanta’s First Congregational Church, and the non-profit religious music organization Meridian Herald will present the 2012 Atlanta Music Festival Concert: “Songs of Aspiration, Hope and Progress.” The event will be held November 11 at 4:00 PM in the sanctuary of First Congregational Church, 105 Courtland Street NE.

The historic concert tradition was begun in 1910 by First Church in an effort to unite Atlantans with what was then known as the “Atlanta Colored Music Festival.” The festival was revived 10 years ago by First Church’s pastor Dwight Andrews.

“The festival is a magnificent story of racial progress that came out of a dark moment more than a century ago,” says Andrews, who is also a music professor at Emory University. At that time Blacks had been refused admittance to events during Atlanta’s Opera Week .

“Members of the congregation didn’t stop with being rejected and turned the situation into an invitation for all to hear African American music. The concert was one of those bright spots at a dark time when Atlanta was still faced with division, hatred and violence in the wake of the race riots,” he said.

This year’s concert will feature performances by spinto tenor Timothy B. Miller, the First Church Chancel Choir directed by Norma Raybon, and the Meridian Chorale and soloists. Andrews is Artistic Director and Steven Darsey is Music Director.

The concert will include works by composer T. J. Anderson. Famous for his orchestration of the Scott Joplin opera, Treemonisha, Anderson has written notable works in most classical forms, including opera, symphony, and ballet. A former composer in residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he has recently moved to Atlanta and will be present at the concert.

Timothy B. Miller is well known to Atlanta audiences for his performances in opera, oratorio, and churches. On the voice faculty of Morehouse College, he is also featured soloist for the Atlanta Braves home games.

“The Atlanta Music Festival is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect an important musical expression with its original meaning and context,” says Andrews. Admission is free. An offering will be taken to benefit the Atlanta Music Festival.

For more information, please see

Special photo
Dwight Andrews, Indra Thomas, Todd Skrabanek, Norma Raybon, Steven Darsey and David Morrow receive applause at the 2011 Atlanta Music Festival.

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