Challenge the Stats will present an Impact Atlanta Concert on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 7 p.m. featuring high-caliber artists of color using the power of the arts to fight for social justice in the city of Atlanta. The evening events will serve to highlight the issue of homelessness in Atlanta through music, dance, poetry, and interactive conversation. In addition to First Presbyterian Church, sponsors and featured partners include American Harp Society, The Homeward Choir, ChopArt, The Mad Housers and Georgia State University Choral Union.
A pre-concert Dinner and Discussion opens the event at 5:00 p.m., featuring an enriching discussion among leading Atlanta-based advocates on the reality of homelessness and how individual citizens can help make a positive change; promoting community through the power of the arts. The panel includes Donal Noonan (Atlanta Homeward Choir), Malika Whitley (ChopArt), Tracy Woodard (The Mad Housers), and Terresha Anthony (Women’s Transition Center, First Presbyterian Church).
Challenge the Stats was conceived after Angelica Hairston, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development alumnus, heard of shocking statistics facing minorities in the fine arts: only 4.2 percent of the United States’ orchestral musicians are black or Hispanic, less than 4 percent of opera audiences are African American, and less than 1 percent of compositions performed by American orchestras are by composers of color. An advocate for diversity in the fine arts, Hairston holds a Bachelor of Music and a Harp Performance Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) and a Master of Music Industry Leadership as a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Graduate Fellow at Northeastern University (Boston). She has a deep interest in creating platforms that work towards greater diversity, inclusion, and equity in the arts.
The Master of Ceremony for the evening will be Afemo Omilami, COO Hosea Helps & Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless.
Hairston will be joined on stage by eleven world-renowned musicians, including: Maurice Draughn, composer, who will debut a multisensory piece of music at Challenge the Stats, based on calls for equal justice demonstrated in the marches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; Leah Claiborne, who serves as the Assistant Professor of African American Music at the University of the District of Columbia. She will also perform in collaboration with Spelman College dance student, Thulani Vereen.
Challenge the Stats String Quartet is made up of Atlanta-based instrumentalists who represent some of the highest caliber of performers of color in the city. The ensemble’s members perform with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, and have traveled extensively throughout the United States and around the globe.