Avery Sharpe’s project, “400 An African American Musical Portrait” was recorded in 2018 for its 2019 release on JKNM Records. Sharpe decided to mark the 400th year of Africans being brought to the US shores in Virginia in 1619 as enslaved people with a musical portrait/recording.
The project was originally conceived for a small choir and Avery’s sextet. To help commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival, Avery has combined his group and his Extended Family Choir with members of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Chorus, to bring about an unbelievable collaboration for the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival. Sharpe has expanded the compositions and added instrumentation, to express 400 in the most powerful way possible.
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The Springfield Symphony Orchestra performed its first concert in 1944, at its current home – Springfield Symphony Hall, which was originally built as the Municipal Auditorium. That performance received great reviews and was even recorded by the Office of War Information for rebroadcast to our troops overseas.
Today, the SSO is the largest Massachusetts symphony outside of Boston. It consists of over 80 musicians from the NE region of the United States and Canada, and holds many performances in a given season – as either the full orchestra or in ensemble formats.
The established mission of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra is to:
- Maintain and develop a professional symphony orchestra that produces musical performances of high artistic quality;
- Entertain and educate audiences of all ages;
- Expand and develop our audiences;
- Sponsor related programs and concerts that enhance the musical life of the region we serve.
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra is the parent organization of two youth orchestras – the Springfield Youth Sinfonia (formally Young Person’s Philharmonia) and the Springfield Youth Orchestra (formally Young Person’s Symphony). Both of these ensembles offer young musicians a chance to play in a full orchestra, an option not offered in many schools.