By Leah Woodson
Member, JAM Committee
On Wednesday, September 25 at 7:30 p.m., The Community Concert Choir of Baltimore will perform in the Chapel under the auspices of the Just All Music Committee. The choir was established to promote sacred music and educate the community on the vibrant music legacy unique to the Black Church. The choir has quickly grown, spanning age, religious denominations, race, cultural and geographic lines.
Its founder, Marco Merrick, teaches piano at the Baltimore Nathan Carter School of Music. He formerly was a professor in the School of Communications at Morgan State University.
Dr. Merrick says, “In many black churches today, it’s all about current, current. There are ministers who only want to do new stuff to get young people to come to church.” The choir specializes in what Merrick considers to be neglected music, the traditional spirituals, hymns, anthems and gospel songs of African-American churches.
The choir’s repertoire spans the Negro Spiritual, Western European hymns and anthems and the evolution of gospel music. It also includes hymns such as “Lift Up Your Heads,” “Ride the Chariot,” and “Holy Art Thou,” an anthem based on an aria from the 18th-century opera by Handel. Music by classical composers is also part of their songbook, including excerpts from Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation” and “Inflammatus” from Rossini’s “Stabat Mater.” The classic gospel of Thomas Dorsey, a Black gospel artist who emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, is included.
Tickets are $5 and will go on sale in all dining lobbies Monday and Tuesday, September 16 & 17 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.