Choral for a cause

Published 9:03 pm Friday, June 26, 2009

When several Troy University students approached Scott Sexton with an idea for the summer, he listened with great interest. Novel ideas always interest Sexton.

And, when that idea includes a humanitarian cause, Sexton is glad to be involved.

He is excited about the opportunity to direct the innovative African Choral Project at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Studio in downtown Troy.

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Admission is free and the public is invited.

“This is something new and we’re all excited about it,” Sexton said. “The African Choral Project is a different approach to choral music. It’s a whole different choral music, and I think that everyone will enjoy it and appreciate it.”

The choral group includes 18 singers and three percussionists.

The music will feature a unique four- and five-part harmony and a complex rhythm that is not in the Western repertoire of music.

“The concert will be a very spirited one and filled with energy,” Sexton said. “The program will include eight African folk songs and there will be dances with most of those. The program will include different areas of the arts – music, dancing, visual art and theater.

A slide presentation that includes photographs of South Africa AIDS orphans will enhance several musical presentations. The colorful promotional posters were designed by Olesea Voloshin.

“Three theater students, Brittany Byrd, Bryant Stokes and Brittany Heitling, will tell African folk tales,” Sexton said.

“So the African Choral Project will be a diverse, interesting and entertaining concert for people of all ages.”

Sexton said the choral group has worked very hard to make the music as authentic as possible.

“When you’ve been trained musically and then are asked to sing strictly from the heart the way the African people do, it’s not easy,” Sexton said. “They sing from the heart, not off a piece of paper.

“It’s been a real learning experience for us and we’re excited to bring the program to The Studio.”

Although admission is free, those who attend will have an opportunity to make a monetary donation in support of African AIDS orphans.

“We are also encouraging everyone to bring a canned item to be given to a local food bank,” Sexton said. “We want the African Choral Project to be an evening of non-traditional entertainment and more.”