Using the poetry of the great American poet, novelist and essayist Margaret Walker, For My People encompasses a variety of musical genres, including classical, contemporary, gospel, and musical theater. The songs and poetry deal with the African-American experience in the American South during the Twentieth Century. New York composer Randy Klein has given these poems a new voice through his musical settings. My attraction to the poetry of Margaret Walker was the result of a New York City subway trip from Brooklyn to Manhattan in February of 2000, explained composer Randy Klein. Printed on a placard from the Poetry in Motion series was a poem by Margaret Walker titled, Lineage. It began, My grandmothers were strong. As the subway train rumbled on, I was lost in the words of Walkers heartfelt poetry. A few weeks later I again became aware of the placard with Lineage on it. This time, I scribbled down the poem on a piece of paper, and when I got home, I went to my piano and composed music for it. This was the beginning of the larger work, For My People. For My People was premiered with choral arrangements by James Ballard in April, 2011 at James Madison University. Members of the Cranford High School Concert Choir were present at the West-Coast premiere in March of 2013 at San Diego State University as part of their Southern California tour last year. The students were excited to learn that Randy Klein is a New York-based composer and that soloist Aurelia Williams grew up in Plainfield. It was a near-hometown connection and we were 3,000 miles from home, said Anthony Rafaniello, Cranford High School choral director. A connection between Rafaniello and Klein was made thanks to the recommendation of San Diego State Choral Director, Dr. Patrick Walders. Arrangements to perform the work at Cranford High School began over the summer.
Struck in N.Y., Phila. Orchestra pulls off a concert anyhow
“But we are musicians . . . and what we like to do on our night off is play music.” More coverage 30th Street Craft Market brings together the best local vendors An orchestra spokeswoman declined to make Nezet-Seguin available for an interview. Word of the concert spread throughout the day after being announced in late morning. “I just think this is awesome, this is the kind of thing they do in Philly,” said Sandra Ackler of Center City, who heard of the concert on the radio and brought along a South Philadelphia friend who had never been to Verizon Hall. It was, she said, slightly reminiscent of another orchestra gift to its listeners that she wished she had attended – an evening in 1994 when members of the orchestra were snowed in, and the public was invited in to hear music director Wolfgang Sawallisch take a spin through knotty Wagner scores alone, accompanying singers from the keyboard. Carnegie Hall stagehands struck Wednesday morning over a jurisdiction issue, not only depriving New Yorkers of a chance to hear the orchestra in Tchaikovsky, Ravel, and Saint-Saens, but also keeping the ensemble from impressing gala cochairs such as philanthropists Mercedes T. Bass and Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis. Violinist Joshua Bell and double-bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding were to have been guest soloists. After 13 months of talks, and “after no significant progress, we found it absolutely necessary to take action to protect the members that we represent,” said James J. Claffey Jr., president of Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, in a statement.