Interrogating the Tradition: Upholding Whiteness in Choral Music

Watch LIVE on the Mendelssohn’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

July 15, 2020
8pm EDT/7pm CDT

Tesfa Wondemagegnehu has been sharing joy and a vision for equity and justice through song for over a decade. Through a triumvirate of teaching, conducting, and performing, he has found a way to transform both students and audiences and to reach those seeking resolutions of peace, equality, and respect … through music.

He serves as the conductor of the Viking Chorus and the Chapel Choir at St. Olaf College. He also served as the guest artistic director of one of North America’s Largest LGBTQ+ choirs, Minnesota’s One Voice Mixed Chorus. Tesfa maintains an active voice studio and teaches Music & Social Justice with the goal of helping bridge the gap of social injustice through music, dialogue, and inspiring participants to take action in their communities.

Soprano Kiera Duffy will lead participants through a series of holistic, evidence-based warm-ups that promote long-term vocal health, comfort, and beauty.

Reading/Listening Materials

1. Watch this video from 1 minute and 40 seconds until 6 minutes and 10 seconds. (DO NOT WATCH THE BEGINNING OF THE VIDEO AND STOP WHERE ASKED).  It is critical that you only view this clip within the provided parameters. Please be prepared to discuss the excerpted words below.

No color can come between us,
No shade to be thrown,
No tone be taken to demean us, no hue of hate to be shown.
No color, no shade, no tone; let me be transparent with you.
Whose history is whose?
Who’s walking in whose shoes?
Who’s making whose rules?
Who’s learning in whose schools?
More love is our intention, stop, did we forget to mention that we are more alike than different?
United we take a stand,
Ignited with hand in hand,
To build a band of harmony.
No time to wait, don’t hesitate!

2.  Download and be ready to access the Justice Choir Songbook.  We will sing 2-3 selections from this as part of the session.

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