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Events To Take Place at the Apollo Theater Include:
Panel Discussion on Saturday, March 21 with Derrick Bell, Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Portia Maultsby, Chapman Roberts, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and Olly Wilson
Explores Historical, Political, and Musical Dimensions of the Spiritual and Gospel Music

Gospel Newcomer Shari Addison to Perform on
Sunday, March 22 Along with Musical Director Ray Chew and Gospel Vocalists Shirley Caesar, Donnie McClurkin, Smokie Norful, and Richard Smallwood, Abyssinian Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir, Sweet Honey In The Rock and Vy Higginsen's Gospel for Teens

March 5, 2009 - New York, NY -- This March, Carnegie Hall presents Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy -- a three-week festival dedicated to saluting the enduring vitality, influence, and creativity of African American culture-curated by internationally renowned soprano Jessye Norman. A highlight of the festival will be a special weekend at the Apollo Theater on March 21 and 22, immersing audiences in the traditions of the Spiritual and gospel music through discussion and performance.

On Saturday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m. a panel discussion explores the historical, political, and musical issues associated with these musical genres. Participants include Derrick Bell, Professor of Constitutional Law at the New York University School of Law; Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor of The Abyssinian Baptist Church; Portia Maultsby, Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University; performer, arranger, and musical director Chapman Roberts; composer, performer, and Professor of Music at University of California at Berkley Olly Wilson; and members of the renowned a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock.

On Sunday, March 22 at 5:00 p.m., the weekend's programming will continue with a concert tracing the development of the Spiritual from its African roots in a joyous program that brings together gospel vocalists Shari Addison, Shirley Caesar, Donnie McClurkin, Smokie Norful, and Richard Smallwood with The Abyssinian Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and Vy Higginsen's Gospel for Teens, with other artists to be announced. Ray Chew, musical director of NBC's The Singing Bee, Showtime At the Apollo, and BET's Sunday Best, serves as the concert's musical director.

Prior to this special weekend, Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute also presents a free, interactive Carnegie Hall Community Sing at the Apollo Theater Soundstage on Friday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m., which invites vocalists of all ages and levels to make music together with host Vy Higginsen and the Gospel for Teens Choir.

The Honor! festival runs from March 4 through March 23, celebrating African American music and its influence worldwide with more than 20 concerts and events throughout New York City . Festival events will also pay tribute to pioneering artists who forged the path for succeeding generations. For more information, visit

Now in its 118th season, Carnegie Hall has long presented performances of Spirituals and gospel music, having had an open-door policy for performers and audience alike since its opening. Paul Robeson is believed to have presented the first full program of Spirituals in a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in 1929, although a duo vocal recital by J. Rosamond Johnson and Taylor Gordon preceded it by more than two years. Even before that, a concert entitled "Hampton Negro and Indian Folk Lore Concert" took place in 1902. More recently, sopranos Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle, appearing together for the first time, performed a historic program of Spirituals, recorded for PBS telecast, in 1990. Some of gospel music's great stars have also 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.

Celebrating its 75th Anniversary season in 2009, the iconic Apollo Theater has been a driving force shaping America's cultural and musical landscape, launching the careers of gospel greats like Clara Ward, the Staple Sisters, and Sam Cooke's Soul Stirrers. As legends like these graced its stage, the Harlem theater became a catalyst for broadening the audience of spiritual music, and sparked the development of the many genres that grew out of the gospel tradition.

Musical Director of the March 22 concert, composer and producer Ray Chew is also Musical Director of the Honor! opening night concert on March 4, Honor: Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, And Beyond, and 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 most recently 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 soul-stirring rendition of "At Last" by Beyoncé. Chew also served as musical director for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO (Ricky Kirshner Productions). Chew and his nationwide orchestra provided the music for all four days of the convention, including the historic, culminating events at Invesco Field where he performed "America the Beautiful" with Michael McDonald. Chew also arranged and produced the National Anthem performance for Academy Award winning powerhouse Jennifer Hudson. He was also musical director for The BET Honors-and was featured in a piano duet with Stevie Wonder, in addition to signature performances by Gladys Knight, Brian McKnight and Jill Scott, and John Legend.

Apollo Theater
Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2009, the Apollo Theater is one of Harlem's, New York City's, and America's most iconic and enduring cultural institutions. The Apollo was one of the first theaters in New York , and the country, to fully integrate, welcoming traditionally African-American, Hispanic, and local immigrant populations in the audience, as well as headlining uniquely talented entertainers who found it difficult to gain entrance to other venues of similar size and resources. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul and hip-hop. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D'Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to stardom on the Apollo's stage. Based on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy
Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy salutes the enduring vitality, influence, and creativity of African American culture through a collection of concerts and special events that have been curated by internationally renowned soprano Jessye Norman. This Carnegie Hall festival, presented in March 2009, has been designed to celebrate African American music and its influence worldwide, and pay tribute to pioneering artists who forged the path for succeeding generations. Through partnerships with New York cultural institutions, including the legendary Apollo Theater and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Honor! engages with diverse audiences and provides a showcase for African American music in its many genres: classical, gospel, Spirituals, contemporary popular music, blues, and jazz, offering close to 20 events, including concerts, recitals, lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, and educational programs at Carnegie Hall, Apollo Theater, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and other venues throughout New York City.

Carnegie Hall has a long, storied history of featuring the greatest African American artists on its stages, from classical trailblazers to jazz pioneers to R&B and popular music icons. Maintaining an open-door policy since its inception-soprano Sissieretta Jones performed in June 1892, one year after the hall opened-Carnegie Hall has been the site for groundbreaking concerts by numerous African American musicians. These history-making events include Marian Anderson's 1928 debut-more than ten years before being notoriously barred from singing at Washington D.C.'s Constitution Hall-as well as producer John Hammond's famous 1938 "From Spirituals to Swing" program, a veritable cornucopia of African American styles and performers, and the Kool Jazz Festival's (now JVC Jazz Festival) "Young Lions" debuts of Wynton Marsalis and Bobby McFerrin in 1982. The very evolution of jazz itself can be traced through Carnegie Hall programs-from James Reese Europe and his Clef Club Orchestra (1912) to W.C. Handy and Fats Waller ('28) to Benny Goodman's integrated orchestra ('38) on through Duke Ellington's Black, Brown & Beige premiere ('43), Miles Davis's Carnegie Hall debut in the year of the "Birth of the Cool" ('49), and John Coltrane jamming with Thelonious Monk ('57). Today's popular music stars continue to build upon this historic legacy, with performances in the past decade by Wyclef Jean, Mary J. Blige, and Mos Def, among many others.

Throughout the month of March, Carnegie Hall's Rose Museum will participate in the Honor! festival with a special exhibit entitled The African American Experience at Carnegie Hall. Through items on display from the Carnegie Hall Archives, the New York Library for the Performing Arts, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Columbia University, and Howard University, visitors will have the chance to explore the fascinating history of African American artists and political and social figures who have appeared at Carnegie Hall throughout its 118-year history.

Also in conjunction with Honor!, Carnegie Hall has created a website,, to serve as the online companion to the festival. The site will offer the most up-to-date information about Honor! events, pay tribute to the hundreds of legendary African American performers who have appeared on Carnegie Hall's stages throughout its history, and provide historical context to the festival's programming via an interactive timeline (launching later in the month) curated by Professor Portia Maultsby of Indiana University.


Friday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Apollo Theater, Soundstage
253 West 125th Street
Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy Curated by Jessye Norman
Gospel for Teens
Vy Higginsen, Host

Gospel for Teens is a program of the Mama Foundation for the Arts and Vy Higginsen's School of Gospel , Jazz, and R&B Arts for teens ages 13-19. Under the direction of the foundation's seasoned music masters, the Gospel for Teens Choir has performed throughout New York City , including the Apollo Theater, the American Museum of Natural History, and St. Paul Community Baptist Church .

Sponsored by Target

Media Sponsor: Time Warner Cable

Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts are supported, in part, by The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation.

Tickets: Free, RSVP Required - limit 4 tickets per person (Call: 212-531-5363)

Saturday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m.
Apollo Theater
253 West 125th Street
Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy Curated by Jessye Norman
Derrick Bell
Dr. Calvin O. Butts III
Portia Maultsby
Chapman Roberts
Sweet Honey In The Rock
Olly Wilson

A wide-ranging discussion, exploring the historical and political issues associated with Spirituals and gospel music.

Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with the Apollo Theater.

Tickets: $10

Sunday, March 22 at 5:00 p.m.
Apollo Theater
253 West 125th Street
Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy Curated by Jessye Norman
Ray Chew, Musical Director
Shari Addison, Vocalist
Shirley Caesar, Vocalist
Donnie McClurkin, Vocalist
Smokie Norful, Vocalist
Richard Smallwood, Vocalist
The Abyssinian Baptist Church Cathedral Choir
Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir
Sweet Honey In The Rock
Vy Higginsen's Gospel for Teens
Additional artists to be announced

Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theater team up to present a concert of Spirituals and gospel music. The program will trace the development of the Spiritual, from its African roots, to solo vocal performances and choral arrangements. Following intermission, choirs from around New York City will join forces for a joyous celebration of gospel music.

Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with the Apollo Theater.

Tickets: $45

Major funding for Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy has been provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Alice Tully Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation's New York City Cultural Innovation Fund, and the A. L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation.

The opening performance of Honor! is sponsored by Bank of America.

Honor! is made possible, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

Ticket Information: 
ickets for the March 21 and 22 events are available at the Apollo Theater Box Office, TicketMaster at 212-307-7171, or  For further information call 212-531-5305.

Tickets for the March 13 Carnegie Hall Community Sing are free, but reservations are required. Call 212-531-5363. Limit four tickets per person.
Robyn Ryland-Sanders
GQ Media & Public Relations, Inc.
About GQ Media & Public Relations, Inc.
In 2002, Gwendolyn Quinn founded GQ Media & Public Relations, Inc. a full-service publicity and marketing firm that specializes in developing stratagem and coordinating special events, brand development and entertainment marketing for clients who span the worlds of music, performing arts (theatre), corporate, not-for-profit, faith-based, and the visual/fine arts.

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