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Free Concert: "1619 to 2019: Four Hundred Years, The Journey Through Music"

A free concert featuring both Old Dominion University and community performers will highlight the 400-year-long journey of African-Americans and their impact on American music through song. The free show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24 in the Chandler Recital Hall at the Diehn Center for the Performing Arts on 49th Street.

"1619 to 2019: Four Hundred Years, The Journey Through Music" will feature music sung by the university's Diehn Chorale and the I.C. Norcom Choral Department, from I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth. The show will feature African-American spirituals and gospel songs, music by African-American composers, African songs of freedom, and songs of the Congo, Nigeria, and Ghana.

"The concert is broken into four sections: spirituals, gospel, songs in African languages, and works by African-American composers, and each section of music will be introduced by a musical leader in the African-American community," said Nancy Klein, choral director and director of the F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music. "The musical forms found in spirituals, gospel, and jazz are unique to American music and are woven into the very fabric of our national culture."

Speakers include Roy Belfield, director of the Norfolk-based African-American singing group The I. Sherman Greene Chorale; Adolphus Hailstork, composer, professor and eminent scholar the F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music; Elizabeth Eccles, former music director of the I. Sherman Green Chorale; and Joe Harmon, director of the Norcom Chorale and current graduate student in choral conducting at the university.

"There is African influence found in localities throughout the world, but no one country has been so impacted by the influence of African music as our nation," Klein explained. "The musical influence of African rhythm, tonalities and dialects were established from before the foundation of our country and have grown to be an expression of our national history. It is for this reason that we celebrate this music, and those who first performed, and who were inspired to write it."

For more information, visit The F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music website or follow the school on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.

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