The Arlington Chorale is gearing up to bring a long-lost musical piece to life at its holiday concert next Saturday in Westover.
The community choir plans to perform familiar classics, including “Good King Wenceslas” and “Gloria.” However, it is also adding what it says is a rarely performed composition to its repertoire: ‘The Ballad of the Brown King.”
Composed by African-American composer Margaret Bonds, the ballad was first performed in New York in December 1954. It tells the story of Balthazar, one of the Three Wise Men in the Nativity story, who is described in some biblical translations as “dark or Black,” says Ingrid Lestrud, the choir conductor.
“As this work premiered in 1954 before the Civil Rights movement, it was a pretty radical idea to have a Black man as the main figure of a 25-minute piece for choir and orchestra,” Lestrud told ARLnow.
During the concert, slated for 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Westover Baptist Church, Scott Edwin Taylor, director of The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, and Saundra Green, a local Arlington resident, will also discuss the history of the song and share their insight about the hurdles Bonds faced as a Black female composer before the Civil Rights era.
“It was not performed often during the composer’s lifetime — probably because it was difficult for Black women to convince conductors to program their music — but her pieces are starting to be performed more now that conductors are trying to program a more diverse range of composers,” Lestrud said.
A conductor and educator, Lestrud has served on the staff of several ensembles in the D.C. area, including the National Children’s Chorus, Capital City Symphony and Encore Creativity for Older Adults. She has led the Arlington Chorale since 2019, per the press release.
The 60-member local, nonprofit chorus was first established in 1966 and both women and men sing in the ensemble. Over the years, it has performed at a number of significant regional events, including the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2018 at Nationals Park.
After a several-year hiatus due to Covid, the choir made a comeback to the local music scene last year.
Good Wednesday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
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Spring will be here before you know it, and art classes are a terrific way to welcome the season. We have some fresh new classes such as hand-building vases and flower arranging. Also on our roster are crocheting, knitting, printmaking, stitching, and sewing. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the basics: watercolor painting, gouache, oil painting, ceramics (including the wheel), sculpture, collage, drawing, and more. Classes start the week of April 1 and range from 3 to 7 weeks.
If you haven’t discovered Art House 7, this is a great time to check us out! We offer classes, workshops, open studios, and Art Nights throughout the year, as well as summer camps. We recently expanded our studio, and you can buy art supplies next door. We’re near the Lee Harrison shopping center, and free parking is outside our door. Ages 2 to adult.
5537 Langston Blvd., Arlington VA 22207
Whenever we feel indecisive, it’s usually because different parts of ourselves see things differently and are motivated by different priorities and concerns. In fact, it’s usually the friction between these different “camps” that makes us feel stuck.
We can mediate