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Adolphus Hailstork to Receive Star on Norfolk’s Legends of Music Walk of Fame

By Noell Saunders

Adolphus Hailstork, Old Dominion University professor of music, eminent scholar and composer, is receiving his very own star on Norfolk's Legends of Music Walk of Fame.

Hailstork and five others will be inducted with a concert celebration at the Roper Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Feb. 26.

At the event, Hailstork will present a new composition called "Detroit Rise." It is the last movement of a quintet for strings (two violins, viola, cello) and piano, which he's been working on for four years.

"Detroit has been a very good place for me musically. Some of my best success happened there early in my career," Hailstork said. "The Detroit Symphony even commissioned my second symphony. I'm elated that Norfolk has given me the opportunity to share my hope for a resurgent Detroit."

Hailstork, who joined the ODU faculty in 2000, after 23 years at Norfolk State University, began composing in the 1950s as a high school student and furthered his education in the art at Howard University, the Manhattan School of Music and Michigan State. He is one of the most prolific African American composers of his generation, with three symphonies, 3 operas, 2 concertos, band works, several chamber pieces for various ensembles, piano pieces, organ pieces, songs, numerous choral works, and even a recent silent film score. The Chicago Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the New York Philharmonic have all performed his work in years past. The National Symphony Orchestra performed Hailstork's fanfare on "Amazing Grace" at its season opening just this past fall during the same weekend as the opening of the African -American Museum in Washington.

Here, at Old Dominion University some of his work can be found at the Adolphus Hailstork Collection in the special collections area of the F. Ludwig Diehn Composers Room, in the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center. Hailstork has received several awards and has been proclaimed one of Virginia's Cultural Laureates.

This year's other inductees include:

  • R&B and jazz vocalist, Margie Day
  • Folksinger, Bob Zentz
  • Soul singer, Lenis Guess
  • Guitarist, Gordon Banks
  • Radio personality, "Daddy Jack" Holmes

The Legends of Music Walk of Fame Committee was established by a Norfolk City Council resolution to honor the rich musical heritage of Hampton Roads by celebrating individuals who have achieved local, national and international recognition in the world of music. Each honoree is acknowledged with a granite medallion inset with a bronzed star embedded in the Granby Street sidewalk on the block between Freemason Street and the Tidewater Community College campus.

Tickets are free, and may be picked up at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office, 440 Bank Street in downtown Norfolk, 10a.m.-5p.m., Monday through Friday. For additional information, call (757) 664-4253.

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