“Music of the African-American Experience” kicks off Black History Month  

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As a kick-off to Black History Month, the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, will host a musical event that promises to bring together diverse people from Chicago’s North Shore. “Music of the African-American Experience” will be performed Saturday, February 2, 7:30 pm in the Temple’s lower level Foundation Hall.

“While it is true that we all have had some role to play in the building of the American dream,” says Van Gilmer, Music Director from the Baha’i House of Worship, “we are still mystified by our own history as it continues to be uncovered. Music has always been a way that we have been able to express our feelings, our hopes, and our longing to become one human family.”

Gilmer will direct the Baha’i House of Worship Choir, which will be joined for the evening by individual singers from Beth Hillel, Temple Jeremiah, Sherman United Methodist Church and several others. The expanded choir will sing a cappella Negro Spirituals including the rousing “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel” and the beloved “Amazing Grace.”

The Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Philip Simmons, will present music composed and inspired by African Americans like Scott Joplin and Clarence Cameron White and will feature Robert Fisher on violin. Together the orchestra and choir will present several Gospel and other selections.

Cantor Susan Lewis Friedman will present “Hineni,” a composition written by Cantor Pavel Roytman and inspired by the music of the African-American spirituals.

Constellation Men’s Ensemble, a Chicago-based chamber vocal ensemble will also perform.

“It promises to be an evening of inspiration and spiritual upliftment as we walk this often untold musical path,” says Gilmer.

The performance is free. No tickets are required.

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