Hosted by Soledad O'Brien and Rev. A. R. Bernard with Performances Led by
Musical Director Ray Chew and Featuring BeBe & CeCe Winans,
Pastor Shirley Caesar, Patty Griffin, Richard Smallwood, Hezekiah Walker,
Sheila E., Fred Hammond, and Michael McDonald
Plus Special Guests Phylicia Rashad and Pauletta Washington
Presented by Carnegie Hall in Partnership with Chew Entertainment
Tickets for A Night of Inspiration will go on sale on Thursday, February 4th at 11:00 a.m. and are priced between $27 and $74. Tickets can be purchased at the Carnegie Hall Box Office (located at 154 West 57th Street) or by contacting CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800.
“I believe in the transformative power of music, and anyone who has experienced spirituals and gospel music as performed by these amazing artists can attest to the excitement and joy that fills the room when they perform,” says Musical Director Ray Chew. In addition to this performance, Chew served as Musical Director for two concerts during Carnegie Hall’s 2009 festival, Honor!, dedicated to African-American music, including a spiritual and gospel program presented in partnership with the Apollo Theater. He notes, “above all, gospel music is music of hope, and that is something that everyone—no matter their background—can relate to and appreciate.”
Now in its 119th season, Carnegie Hall has a longstanding history of presenting performances of spirituals and gospel music, having had an open-door policy for performers and audience alike since its opening in 1891. Some of gospel music’s great stars have performed at Carnegie Hall throughout the years, from Mahalia Jackson who made the first of her eight Carnegie Hall appearances in 1950 as part of a “Negro Gospel Music Festival” presented by Joe Bostic, noted radio announcer and producer of “The Gospel Train” on WLIB Radio; to The Winans, which recorded its Grammy-winning Live at Carnegie Hall album over two concerts in 1987.
Revered as a true musical professional and beloved by countless entertainers, Ray Chew has been at the helm of award-winning live and televised musical events, and has performed with a seemingly endless list of genre-crossing artists including Sting, James Taylor, the Four Tops, Dionne Warwick, Elvis Costello, Smokey Robinson, Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Quincy Jones, among others. Chew has served as Musical Director for three network television series: NBC’s The Singing Bee, Showtime At the Apollo, and BET’s Sunday Best in addition to the Apollo Theater’s long-running Amateur Night. He also served as musical director for the historical “Neighborhood Inaugural Ball,” at the Washington Convention Center, as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama danced to a rendition of “At Last” by Beyoncé Knowles in addition to having served as musical director for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO. During Carnegie Hall’s 2008-09 season, he served as Musical Director for two performances during the citywide festival Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy—including the opening night concert Honor: Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, And Beyond.
Soledad O’Brien is an anchor and special correspondent for CNN/U.S. Since joining the network in 2003, O’Brien has reported breaking news from around the globe and has produced award-winning and record-breaking documentaries on the most important stories facing the world today. She also covers political news as part of CNN’s “Best Political Team on Television.” O’Brien’s most recent project, Latino in America, was a wide-ranging look at Latinos living in this country; how they’re reshaping America and how America is reshaping them. Earlier this year, O’Brien reported for Black in America 2, a four-hour documentary focusing on successful community leaders who are improving the lives of African-Americans.
A. R. Bernard is the President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York, representing 1.6 million Protestants, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians. He is also the Founder and President of the 33,000 plus member, Christian Cultural Center of New York, which sits on an 11.5 acre campus in Brooklyn. Promoting the values of faith, family, education and community, Rev. Bernard is involved with creating positive change in the Christian Community and especially in underserved communities of color. His Washington, DC based television show “Morality Matters” interviews political and social leaders on the morality of today’s issues. He sits on the New York City Economic Development Corporation Board; New York City School Chancellor’s Advisory Cabinet and served on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2001 Transition Team. Rev Bernard was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Consulate General of Israel in New York, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Jewish National Fund.
Acclaimed singer Pastor Shirley Caesar began singing as a young girl in church and started her professional singing career with The Caravans in the mid 1950s. In 1966 her solo career began to take flight as audiences learned of her soul-stirring voice. Her career spans over 40 years during which time she has earned 11 Grammy awards, 17 Dove Awards, 12 Stellar Awards, and the Soul Train Music Award for Best Gospel Album. Shirley Caesar is currently the Pastor of the Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her most recent album A City Called Heaven was released in November 2009 by Light Records.
Sheila Escovedo (Sheila E.) was born into a musical family and started playing with the family instruments at the age of three. In 1983, she caught the attention of Prince and changed her name to "Sheila E." Prince helped her record her first solo album, The Glamorous Life, and she toured with him in 1984 during his sold out Purple Rain Tour while composing her follow-up album, Romance 1600. Her various projects have included the Latin/funk band E-Train and all girl group C.O.E.D. (Chronicles Of Every Diva). As the founder and president of the music production company, Heaven Productions Music, Sheila E. continues to serve as music director for a number of awards shows.
Patty Griffin began her professional singing career performing in small clubs in the Boston area. She began working on a demo that almost immediately attracted the attention of A&M Records, who signed her to a recording contract and issued her first album, Living with Ghosts. With a sound that includes folk, country, blues, and gospel influences, Griffin tours extensively and consistently contributes her vocal support to the albums of other artists, as well as to numerous soundtracks, compilations, and benefit albums.
For more than 25 years, music listeners around the world have known Fred Hammond as a talented songwriter, bassist, and vocalist. He is also known throughout the music industry as a gifted musical arranger and producer. As founder and CEO of his production company, Face to Face Productions Corporation, Hammond has served as producer on more than 80 album projects. His release, Pages of Life: Chapters I & II, has exceeded Double Platinum status and held the #1 position on the Billboard Gospel Charts for over 15 weeks. His latest release, Free to Worship, hit the #1 position on the Gospel Charts and was hailed as one of the year’s best-selling gospel albums for 2006. In addition to Hammond’s studio career, he has continued to take his special brand of gospel to audiences around the world, performing an average of 30 weeks per year.
Michael McDonald, with his soulful baritone, became one of the most distinctive and popular vocalists to emerge from the laid-back California pop/rock scene of the late '70s. After singing backup on several Steely Dan albums in the mid-'70s, McDonald joined the Doobie Brothers in 1977. In 1982, McDonald released his solo debut, If That's What It Takes. The record climbed to number six on the strength of the No. 4 single "I Keep Forgettin'” which also crossed over into the R&B Top 10. In 1983, he had another Top 20 pop hit with his duet with James Ingram, "Yah Mo B There," which won a Grammy. Additionally, his duet with Patti LaBelle, "On My Own," shot to No. 1 and "Sweet Freedom," his theme for the Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines comedy Running Scared, climbed into the Top 10. McDonald’s most recent releases include Blue Obsession and In the Spirit: A Christmas Album.
Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad is known by audiences the world over for her role as Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom, The Cosby Show. Rashad, however, began her career with a number of Broadway credits before joining the cast of the ABC soap opera One Life To Live in 1983. She received two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for The Cosby Show and an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for A Raisin in the Sun in 2008. In 2004, Rashad became the first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, for her role in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Also, the 2008 television adaption of A Raisin in the Sun earned her the 2009 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. She recently appeared as Violet Weston, the drug-addicted matriarch in Tracy Lett's award-winning play,August: Osage County.
As a child, Richard Smallwood thrived on rich and diverse musical fare, including gospel, classical, R&B, and pop. He began picking out melodies by ear on the family piano at age five, and by age seven began formal instruction and performed as the regular pianist in his father’s churches. Though he did not pursue classical studies, Smallwood developed a love for classical music that would profoundly influence his life and music. Upon his graduation from Howard University, Smallwood formed the Smallwood Singers in 1977 and began creating demo recordings. In 1982 and he received a major-label recording contract and has since released 15 consecutive Top Ten albums.
Hezekiah Walker is known for his music and his world-famous choir, which has received two Grammy Awards and 12 Grammy Award nominations, among countless other recognized music awards and nominations in gospel music. Walker is the visionary, founder, and Senior Pastor of the Love Fellowship Tabernacle Churches in Brooklyn, New York, and Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Walker shepherds a growing and multicultural flock of members varying in age, race, and socio-economic backgrounds. Born and raised in Brooklyn in the tumultuous Fort Greene public housing projects, Walker has risen to build and lead one of the greatest ministries in the Northeast.
Pauletta Washington’s acting credits include beloved television movies including Purlie (1981) and the television adaptation of Toni Morrison’s renowned novel Beloved (1998). She also starred in Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child in 1995 and more recently had a recurring role on the TV series “The Parkers.” It was on the set of the 1977 made-for-television movie Wilma that she met the man who would later become her husband—Denzel Washington. The couple has four children: John David, Katia, and twins Olivia and Malcolm.
An inspirational, R&B, and Gospel vocalist, writer, and producer, BeBe Winans has won four Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, six Stellar Awards, two NAACP Awards, and a Soul Train Award. A multi faceted artist, BeBe not only has a successful recording career but also launched a syndicated radio show and returned to acting in both film and theater. As a member of gospel music royalty, BeBe’s success is truly a family tradition. He began his career as a background singer for his famous brothers (The Winans) before teaming with sister CeCe Winans in 1987 for an amazing run of smash hits and platinum-selling albums. His fourth solo album, Dream, was released by his record company TMG (The Movement Group).
Blessed with one of gospel music’s greatest voices, CeCe Winans has crossed stylistic, social, and age barriers with her inspirational delivery and powerful music. Over the span of two decades she has earned multiple Grammy Awards, 18 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, and numerous gold and platinum-selling albums. Not only a gifted singer and songwriter, Winans is also an author and business owner. Her record label, Wellspring Gospel, was established in 1999. She penned her autobiography, On A Positive Note, that same year.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage
A NIGHT OF INSPIRATION
Ray Chew, Musical Director
Soledad O’Brien, Co-Host
Rev. A. R. Bernard, Co-Host
Presented by Carnegie Hall in Partnership with Chew Entertainment.
Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
Tickets priced at $27, $54 and $74, will go on sale on Thursday, February 11th at 11:00 AM at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.
For Carnegie Hall Corporation presentations taking place in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, a limited number of seats, priced at $10, will be available day-of-concert beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday until one hour before the performance or until supply lasts. The exceptions are Carnegie Hall Family Concerts and gala events. These $10 tickets are available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis at the Carnegie Hall Box Office only. There is a two-ticket limit per customer.
In addition, for all Carnegie Hall presentations in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage a limited number of partial view (seats with obstructed or limited sight lines or restricted leg room) will be sold for 50% of the full price. For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visitcarnegiehall.org/discounts.