Savannah Music Festival, ten days and nights of stirring and soulful musical
events under moss-coved oaks and over cobblestone paths in gracious Savannah,
Georgia, is now in its 14th season.
first Music Festival, in 1989, presented winners of the most prestigious
international music competitions -- classical artists just setting foot
upon the world stage - in intimtate historic venues including churches
and synagogues throughout downtown Savannah. In year two, jazz artists
were invited to perform. And in 1994, the concept was further expanded
to include the American Traditions Competition for Singers, a weeklong
event now drawing contestants from across the country and assembling a
world-class panel of judges. Now under the direction of Rob Gibson (founding
Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center!), the Festival is broadening its artistic
reach to include blues, bluegrass, zydeco, gospel and more.
more events than ever before, the 14th Annual Savannah Music Festival
promises to be the most successful yet! In addition to a series of jazz
on film educational events, concert talks and youth concerts the following
are among this year's offerings:
FOREVER! (Five different programs)
(A variety of genres with performances by Cyrus Chestnut, Kristina Beaty
& Friends, Cool John Ferguson, Drink Small, ARTillery Punch, Wycliffe
Gordon, Marcus Roberts and Rosie Ledet)
ART OF SOLO PIANO
(Three separate concerts featuring Tien-Yi and
Shih-Yi Chiang, Roberto Plano and Gilles Vonsattel respectively)
For tickets and more information, call the Savannah
Music Festival offices at (912) 236-FEST.
FINALE: "SOUL OF THE SOUTH"
Savannah Music Festival culminates March 9 in a free, day-long outdoor
concert SOUL OF THE SOUTH, bringing together
artists from Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and North and South
Carolina to perform an array of traditionally-southern musical styles
including blues, jazz, gospel, and Zydeco.
headliners are the internationally-acclaimed Blind Boys of Alabama, who
received a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album for their
CD "Higher Ground" at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards Feb. 23.
The group also appeared on A&E's "Breakfast with the Arts"
In addition to the Grammy Award, "Higher Ground" was named "Best
Gospel CD 2002" by Amazon.com, and the group will be inducted into
the Gospel Music Hall of Fame at the Dove Awards show in Nashville April
10. For 2003 tour dates for the Blind Boys of Alabama, visit http://www.blindboys.com.
The Blind Boys of Alabama will join a number of other regionally recognized
artists with traditionally Southern musical styles in Savannah's historic
Forsyth Park March 9, from 2 to 8:30 p.m. The concert is free and open
to the public.
BOYS OF ALABAMA
"OWN EARTH AND HEAVEN"
SAVANNAH, Ga. With
their Grammy award for Higher Ground, the Blind Boys of Alabama
have at last gotten the recognition long postponed. Few gospel groups
provide the harmony, rhythm and background excellence that has become
the Blind Boys signature. Its quite fair to call them peerless.
After hearing them as a child on black radio stations, I finally saw them
in the 1980s at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on a
day that also featured Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and Clarence Gatemouth"
Brown. Later, they were on stage at Alabamas fabulous Kentuck
Festival for the Arts in Northport. That day, they seemed to own earth
My favorite memory is the evening four years ago at Atlantas Rialto
Center for the Arts, a production sponsored by the House of Blues. Legendary
blues singer and virtuoso guitarist Buddy Guy opened for the Blind Boys.
Memories are still fresh of a few thousand kids on their feet clapping
and joining the incomparable James Carter and his fellow singers praising
God like they were powered by a V-8 engine.
The African-American churches of the south gave America the foundation
for the greatest music the world will ever know. Blues, jazz, bluegrass,
country and rock are rooted there. The Blind Boys prove this in the first
bars of any song. They make us forget our woes while honoring their religion
and spreading the good news.
Opened 2003 Festival
GA The concert version of "Porgy and Bess", George
Gershwinsmost famous work, kicked
off the 2003 Savannah Music Festival, an eclectic series of musical adventures
running each Spring at various venues in Georgia's historic First City.
songs from Gershwins beloved creation, notably the lullaby "Summertime",
have become standards for jazz improvisation, This presentation of the maestro's
"folk opera in three acts" (which harks back to Bizet's "Carmen")
featured the internationally acclaimed 80-voice Morgan State University Choir
and renowned soloists including Arthur Woodley and Kishna Davis.
stipulated in his estate that English-speaking countries may only produce
"Porgy and Bess" with an all-black cast. The Savannah Music Festival
was pleased to adhere to his wishes and bring such an acclaimed choir and
soloists to the region.