Lifting Our Voices: Songs of Struggle and Hope by African American Composers

Milton Community Concerts

Milton Community Concerts, in collaboration with Courageous Conversations Towards Racial Justice, will present a livestream benefit concert, “Lifting Our Voices: Songs of Struggle and Hope by African American Composers”. This event will feature an all-star group of singers in a program to benefit the Neponset Neighbors Together Fund through the United Way. This concert will also feature an honored guest appearance by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who will speak on the topic of racial justice and equity.

This concert event will be found on the Sparrow Live online platform for a minimum donation of $10, and will continue to stream online for one month after the concert. Advance tickets are currently available.

The composers wrote these songs for the concert stage on a variety of topics, including the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman, Negro League Baseball, reactions to 9/11, and a touching story of an abandoned infant found in a phone booth outside a supermarket. Additional themes of racial struggle and hope will be heard in songs with powerful texts by Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Two composers widely known for their arrangements of spirituals, H.T. Burleigh and Hall Johnson, will be presented through their original compositions. Other African American composers to be featured include Margaret Bonds, Florence Price, Duke Ellington, and many others. 

Singers of color from the Boston area and from around the country will be performing in this concert. While many of their performances will be pre-recorded due to COVID restrictions, several songs will also be sung live while socially distanced at First Parish of Milton in Milton, MA.

Many of the singers have won national vocal competitions and regularly sing with prominent opera companies and orchestras throughout the United States. They are: Daon Drisdom, Yazid Gray, Symone Harcum, Michelle Johnson, Melissa Joseph, Brian Major, Davron Monroe, Neil Nelson, Brianna Robinson, Jermaine Smith, and Ron Williams. Narrating this program will be Brother Dennis Slaughter, and the pianist will be Timothy Steele.

The guest speaker for this concert, U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley, is an activist, legislator, survivor, and the first woman of color to be elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Throughout her first term in Congress, she has become known as a champion for justice. Currently she serves on two powerful Congressional committees: the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the House Committee on Financial Services. Prior to being elected to Congress, she served on the Boston City Council for 8 years, and was the first woman of color elected to the council in its 100-year history.​

All net proceeds from this livestream concert will go to support the Neponset Neighbors Together Fund, a COVID-19 fund to support neighbors of Milton, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and Dorchester who are adversely impacted by the current health crisis, with a focus on our most economically vulnerable neighbors. Funds will go to assist families with rent, food, utilities, internet connectivity for families with school-aged children, essential supplies and medications, and other basic needs.

Generous grants from the Milton Cultural Council and from Celebrate Milton! are assisting in the production of this concert.
Performances run through
, 3:00 pm

Milton Community Concerts
535 Canton Avenue
Milton, MA 02186
United States
Recital & Concert