Harpist Angelica Hairston works to create social impact through the power of the arts with her organization Challenge the Stats. She’s also the artistic director of Urban Youth Harp Ensemble. “Challenge the Stats” will present “Rhythm of the Roots,” a virtual concert held on Saturday at 8 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. Pianist Verena Lucia Anders is among the artists performing on that program. Anders and Hairston joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes to talk about the concert and the works that will be performed.
The purpose of this concert:
“It really will be a time for us to center and amplify the voices of musicians of color, which is really how we work towards justice in an authentic way,” said Hairston. She continued, “We are artists responding to the times with the tools that we know best and that is the tool of music and the tool of artistry.”
About Anders’ organization Conductors for Change:
“Conductors for Change really wants to provide a platform for discussion, but also for action. It’s led mostly by conductors, but we also invite any musician, teachers especially, and composers to form a dialogue and begin to really make the classical world more inclusive. And that’s of course for people of color, women, the LGBTQ+ community … and just begin to hopefully change the face, the look, and the dynamic of classical music,” said Anders.
Highlights from press release concert line-up:
-An All-black female string quartet performing the compositions of long-time Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musician Juan Ramirez and Atlanta native Joel Thompson
-Verena Anders, co-founder of Conductors for Change, performing the piano works of Navajo composer Connor Chee
-Harpist Angelica Hairston and Hornist Marie Douglas performing a tribute to George Floyd in “Listen to the Cry of Your Fellow Man,” composed by Charles Overton and Gus Sebring
-Flutist Tara Byrdsong performing Atlanta native Carlos Simon’s “Move It,” a piece written during the COVID-19 pandemic
-Verena Anders, Tara Byardsong and Ricky Saucedo performing the composition of Black female composer Valerie Coleman, highlighting the poetry of Langston Hughes
-Dancer Michael Morris Jr. performs Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” arranged for string quartet by Atlanta native composer Joel Thompson
CTS Artists: Verena Anders, Piano Alana Bennett, Cello Tara Byrdsong, Flute Angelica Hairston, Harp Tramaine Jones, Violin Michael Morris, Jr., Dance Shadwa Mussad, Viola Marie Douglas, Horn Ricky Saucedo, Clarinet Jessica Stinson, Violin Niani Braxton, Spoken Word Artist
Composers: Connor Chee Valerie Coleman Charles Overton & Gus Sebring Juan Ramirez Carlos Simon Joel Thompson
Concert viewing will be available via Challenge The Stats Facebook page and CTS Youtube channel.