we welcome the National Concert Chorus under the direction of two of the most active and versatile conductors today, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu and Dr. Jeffery Redding. Taking turns on the podium, they will lead the chorus through a wonderful program of hand-selected choral pieces among which will include a world-premiere commission titled Eight Of Swords by composer, Melissa Dunphy, and text by Charles Anthony Silvestri.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Dr. Jeffery Redding, the 2019 GRAMMY Award Recipient, is the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Central Florida. In regular demand as a guest conductor and clinician, Dr. Redding is founder and Artistic Director of the Garden Community Choir and Voci del Cuore (Voices of the Heart) in Winter Garden, FL, and Artistic Director of the Orlando Choral Society.
With a love of music as big as his last name, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu has been sharing joy and a vision for equity and justice through song for over a decade. Through a triumvirate of teaching, conducting, and performing, he has found a way to transform audiences and to reach those seeking resolutions of peace, equality, and respect … through music. Tesfa serves as the guest artistic director of one of North America's largest LGBTQ+ choirs, Minnesota's One Voice Mixed Chorus, and co-founded the Justice Choir movement with noted composer Abbie Betinis. Tesfa guest conducts and gives masterclasses, workshops, and clinics both nationally and internationally.
Born to refugee parents and raised in Australia, Dr. Melissa Dunphy immigrated to the United States in 2003 and has since become an award-winning and acclaimed composer specializing in vocal, political, and theatrical music. She first came to national attention in 2009 when her large-scale choral work the Gonzales Cantata was featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, National Review, Comedy Central, and on Fox News and MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, where host Rachel Maddow described it as “the coolest thing you’ve ever seen on this show.” The Gonzales Cantata was subsequently staged as an opera by American Opera Theater and played a sold-out run in Baltimore, and has been performed in Chicago, Texas, and twice in the Pacific Northwest. Dunphy has a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.M. in Theory and Composition from West Chester University, and is a lecturer in composition at Rutgers University.
EIGHT OF SWORDS
You are powerful,
More powerful than you know.
You may think you stand in darkness,
But you are surrounded by the light.
The veil that blinds,
The bonds that bind you
Are only loosely gathered,
And freedom is but a choice away.
Cast aside these bonds,
And find a strength you never knew,
Swords enough for any battle,
Strength enough for any journey.
The waters of life
Flow from inside you.
You are clothed in fire.
And when the Universe gazes out
Upon her many wonders,
She sees through your eyes.
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