A Fantasy of Spirituals, Partsongs and Folk Songs

A Fantasy of Spirituals, Partsongs and Folk Songs

A Choral Feast Starring the Nathaniel Dett Chorale

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, North America’s only Afrocentric professional chamber choir, enchants you with a program of popular spirituals, including a special tribute to the first AfroCanadian composer, Dr. Nathaniel Dett.

In forming the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Brainerd Blyden-Taylor’s goal was to build bridges of understanding, appreciation, and acceptance between communities of people, both Afrocentric and other, through the medium of music.

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Welcome Note

“I have come to you tonite because no people
have been asked to be modern day people
with the history of slavery, and still
we walk, and still we talk, and
still we plan, and still we hope,
and still we sing;”

~Sonia Sanchez, from ‘Reflections After the June 12th March for Disarmament’

Greetings Friends,

The excerpt by the celebrated poet and activist Sonia Sanchez, referenced above, gave birth to the title And Still We Sing’ that has been the impetus for our Spring concert series since our inception. To this overarching theme we have always chosen a subtitle to further amplify the general idea. ‘You Asked Me To Speak’ points the way forward, with hope, as we re-emerge from the relative ‘silence’ of lockdowns imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic with which we have lived for the past two years.

For far too long our performances have remained ‘silent’ to our Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community members. With tonight’s concert we welcome them warmly and pledge to be more inclusive in our performance practice going forward. We are most grateful to the ASL artists and interpreters of Phoenix the Fire for working with us to amplify tonight’s performance.

Together we invite you to read, listen and reflect on the Canadian premieres of Jerrell R. Gray, Aaron Manswell, Brian Nabors, and indeed the entirety of tonight’s repertoire with our theme and title in mind. Welcome to ‘And Still We Sing…You Asked Me To Speak’.

D. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor
Artistic Director


D. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, conductor; Christina Faye, collaborative pianist
Jaideep Goray, ASL Interpreters

You Asked Me To Speak – Kim André Arnesen (b. 1980)

Anaïs Kelsey-Verdecchia, soprano

Go Down Moses (from ‘The Ordering of Moses’) – R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)

Dérrell Woods, bass-baritone; Ryan Downey, tenor
Ego Sum – Sydney Guillaume (b. 1982)

Sweet Jesus (Songs for the Journey #1) – Brandon Waddles (b. 1988)

Jenna Cowans, alto

Steal Away – Diedre Robinson (b. 1970)
Echo – Brian Nabors (b. 1991) *
One More Life – Aaron Manswell (b. 1991) *


Serenity Prayer – Jerrell R. Gray (b. 1989) *

Ineza Mugisha, soprano

Make Me A World – Ruth Watson Henderson (b. 1932)

Dérrell Woods, bass-baritone

I Dream A World – Rosephayne Powell (b. 1962)
Stick With Love – Aaron Manswell *
Ianjai Mounsey-Ndemo, alto; Jamie Hillman, tenor
This Little Light of Mine – Brandon Waddles
Alison Ryan, soprano; Jamie Hillman, tenor
I’m Buildin’ Me A Home – Uzee Brown, Jr. (b. 1950)

Ianjai Mounsey-Ndemo, alto

Way Over in Beulah Lan’ – Stacey V. Gibbs (b. 1962)


First Presbyterian Church
200 Maple Street Collingwood, ON

This event has been made possible by the gracious support of Donald & Catherine MacLean.

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