By the time we gathered for the final session on Sunday, a number of participants had already departed for home because of flight schedules. Too bad because they missed the most lively panel discussion of the entire program. Willis Patterson–after inviting everyone to acknowledge the extraordinary work of organizer Darryl Taylor–led discussion of spiritual art songs, with the audience engaging with the panelists on subjects like performance practice, solo and choral settings of spirituals, and the perspectives of the performer and the composer.
After a brief break, we presented a concert of spirituals. For over two hours, the audience heard works from pioneer to contemporary composers sung by musicians of great vocal power and talent and a storyteller, all giving praise and raisin’ the roof.
I didn’t get many pictures, but others are posting pictures on the AAASA Facebook group page. The one picture I’m posting is of mezzo-soprano Bonita Hyman, who shared her hotel room with me for the conference.
The day ended after spending the evening with an old friend who lives only an hour away. We had dinner at a local restaurant then drove out to the Pacific Ocean but too late to see the sun set over the water as I’d hoped. The more important point, though, was that it was wonderful to reminisce with a good friend and fellow Star Trek role-player.
The African American Art Song Alliance conference was such a positive experience. I got to meet so many of the people who had become known to me over the Web–especially over Facebook. It was a great privilege to perform with and hear so many wonderful musicians. Five years before the next AAASA conference is so long away.