African American Concert Music with Dwight Andrews, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Atlanta Music Festival Concert – Friday, October 10, 2014, 7:30 p.m.,

African American Concert Music with Dwight Andrews


Atlanta’s First Congregational Church, Meridian Herald, and Emory University present the 2014 Atlanta Music Festival Concert: Songs of Aspiration, Hope and Progress, October 10, 4:00 PM in the sanctuary of First Congregational Church, 105 Courtland Street NE.  This year’s concert is presented in collaboration with Imagining America, in tandem with their national conference. Admission is free; a free will offering will be taken. Free and paid parking is available.


The featured performer is spinto tenor Timothy B. Miller, well known to Atlanta audiences for his performances in area church and civic functions, for his roles in the Atlanta Opera, and for his beloved solos during the Atlanta Braves’ home games seventh inning stretches!


Addressing the concert’s theme of narrative-story, Mr. Miller will perform the song cycle, Songs of Separation, with poems by Arna Bontempts, Philippe-Thoby Marcelin, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Countee Cullen, and Langston Hughes, all set to music by the renowned composer William Grant Still.   The Meridian Chorale, led by Steven Darsey, will sing a cycle of spirituals, Goin’ Home (Songs for Sister Lisa) set by eminent contemporary composer Adolphus Hailstork.  Also performing will be the Chancel Choir of First Congregational Church, conducted by Norma Raybon.

Dwight Andrews, renowned composer, jazzman, educator, and pastor of First Church, will provide commentary.  Dr. Andrews serves as Artistic Director and Steven Darsey as Music Director of the Atlanta Music Festival.



The Atlanta Music Festival has released its first CD

Guide My Feet: Songs of Reconciliation, Hope, and Progress is available via:

iTunesAmazonGoogle PlayCDBaby



The Atlanta Music Festival is a contemporary annual event that draws on a century-old musical and cultural heritage. In the wake of Atlanta’s 1906 race riots, Henry Hugh Proctor, pastor of Atlanta’s First Congregational Church, launched programs to improve black communities and encourage racial harmony. In May of 1910 white Atlantans produced a highly publicized grand opera week, featuring New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Reverend Proctor in turn formed The Atlanta Colored Music Festival Association, which produced its first concert that August. Thanks to the association’s cordial invitation, the 2000 attendees in Atlanta’s Auditorium-Armory included a large contingent from the white community. The festival featured the most prominent African American concert artists of the day. Years later, Proctor recalled: “Our Music Festival brought the best musical talent of the race to the city, and attracted great audiences of both races. As a matter of fact, we found that music was a great solvent of racial antipathies, just as David found it a solvent for personal antagonism with Saul.” The concert was presented annually through 1917.


Dwight Andrews, current pastor of First Congregational Church, revived his congregation’s music festival tradition in 2001 through collaboration with the nonprofit worship-arts organization Meridian Herald, led by Steven Darsey. Since then the music festival, sponsored by Meridian Herald, First Congregational Church, and, from 2011, Emory University offers annual performances, engaged scholarship, lectures, a conservatory for youth, and university courses. Honoring Proctor’s vision, the Atlanta Music Festival explores evolving racial and societal landscapes.


Reverend Andrews comments, “We are concerned about concert music and cultural activities in America, and, with an ear to voices that have not been heard, are striving to create a musical world of reconciliation and empowerment. We are not taking a quick, small scale view, but, imagining what American musical culture can and should be, are plotting a journey toward that goal. With collaboration among universities and communities—and emphasizing children—we are making an investment, anticipating a return that will shape the American musical and cultural landscape of the future.”

Admission is free.  An offering will be taken to benefit the Atlanta Music Festival.  For more information, please see

First Congregational Church understands its history as a source of strength, wisdom and tradition and its future legacy as a continuation of the best of its traditions. Deepening their personal and collective relationship with God and their faith traditions (Congregational, Christian, Evangelical and Reformed), First Church has vital ministries for all ages and stages of life. They extend a warm welcome to all people.

Emory University is known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate experience, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. Emory encompasses nine academic divisions as well as the Carlos Museum, The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive health care system.  

Meridian Herald exists to promote the interaction of worship, music and culture, bridging communities and traditions of the past and present.  Through worship services, concerts, programs, and publications of exceptional quality and artistic character, Meridian Herald seeks to challenge the church and society to higher ideals of creativity and moral purpose. Established in 1997, Meridian Herald has distinguished itself as a creative force in the cultural life of Atlanta and the Southeast.

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