The Soul Now Sings: A Musical Christmas Journey
Originally Aired: Thursday, October 22, 2020
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As a world-weary New Yorker trudges through a cold December night, she finds she has lost the joy of the Christmas season. But then a few chance encounters inspire tender reminiscences that take her on an unexpected spiritual journey.
That is the story behind The Soul Now Sings, a new Christmas musical by award-winning musician and composer Damien Sneed commissioned by The Greene Space. The show had its world premiere on our stage on December 4, 2015.
With Sneed’s original arrangements of gospel, jazz and classical favorites, the performance features a cast of 20 singers and musicians. Written by Karen Chilton, it’s a story that embraces the nostalgia, and even melancholy, of the holiday season, but is ultimately a journey to gratitude and hope.
Narrator: Karen Chilton
Singers: Martin Bakari, Chenee Campbell, Latice Crawford, Ayana George, Kaleb Hopkins, Anitra McKinney, Lynette Rhett McNeil, Tiffany Stevenson, Brandie Sutton, Matia Washington
Musicians: Justin Cunningham, bass; Jammal Graham, keys; Keyon Harrold, trumpet; Patrice Jackson-Tilghman, cello; Segdrick Marsh, drums; Stephanie Matthews, violin; Stacy Dillard, sax; Damien Sneed, piano
About the Composer
Damien Sneed is a multi-genre recording artist and a 2014 recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence honor, which is presented annually to emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music. A pianist, organist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger, vocal coach, professor, and arts educator, Sneed has worked with legends such as Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Carlos Santana, Ashford & Simpson, David Sanborn, and Kenny Burrell. He has performed at national and international events, including the 2012 Olympics in London and activities related to the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
About the Writer and Narrator
Karen Chilton is a New York-based actor and writer whose work has been seen on film, episodic television and off-Broadway. An award-winning narrator and voiceover artist, her voice can be heard on numerous television and radio ad campaigns as well as on dozens of audiobooks across genres. She is also the author of the critically-acclaimed biography Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist From Café Society to Hollywood to HUAC (University of Michigan Press), which was the inspiration for WQXR host Terrance McKnight’s hour-long broadcast Still Swinging, Still Classic: A Musical Biography of Pioneering Pianist Hazel Scott. Chilton is also the co-author of the jazz memoir of legendary vocalist Gloria Lynne, I Wish You Love (St. Martin’s Press) and a contributor to Smithsonian Books’ Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing: The Apollo Theater and American Entertainment, commemorating the Apollo’s 75th anniversary. Her dramatic works for the stage include the solo performance piece Saying Grace and Convergence, winner of the New Professional Theatre’s Writers Festival.
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