Under the direction of Byron Stripling, The Columbus Jazz Orchestra will celebrate the Rosa Parks, the mother of the modern Civil Rights Movement in Suite Rosa on January 25-26, 2013 at the Lincoln Theatre. Presented in connection with the 100th anniversary of her birth, the concert re-enacts the historical day when she courageously refused to give up her seat on the bus through music, spoken word and dance.
“While the civil rights movement was filled with fire hoses pointed at quiet demonstrators, billy clubs landing on bodies asking for the right to vote, Rosa Parks took subtle but powerful action by remaining in her seat, “ says Stripling. “The quiet act of defiance echoes throughout the United States and became more powerful than the mightiest guns.”
The story is told through the musical composition of Grammy winning bassist, composer and conductor John Clayton and choreographer Alexis Wilson. The CJO will perform “African Spirit,” composed by Clayton and commissioned in 2007 by the CJO for the Aminah Robinson Project. The dramatic piece which recalls the experience of African slaves sets the scenre for the performance of three traditional negro spirituals – I’ve Been Buked and I’ve Been Scorned, Didn't it Rain and Down by the Riverside, which became known as the soundtrack for the Civil Rights Movement.The traditional spirituals will be followed by Songs of the Underground Railroad by John Coltrane incorporating elements of jazz and blues. The CJO will be joined onstage by a gospel choir for the final numbers Let Us Go into the House of the Lord and The Presence of the Lord is Here.
Incorporated into the production is a seven minute ballet Rosa, originally choreographed by Billy Wilson and re-staged by daughter Alexis. It features two female dancers – one caucasion and one African American, who dance the dramatic events of December 1, 1955. The piece will be performed for the first time to live music, including the traditional gospel number I Told Jesus.
The concert finale will showcase a newly commissioned work by John Clayton that will include choreography by Alexis Wilson. The CJO will be joined onstage for the finale by both the gospel choir and spoken word artist Keith “SPEAK” Williams.
Tickets may be purchased for $40 (loge) or $35 (orchestra) through either the CAPA Ticket Office at 614-469-0939 or any Ticketmaster outlet. Student and group rates are also available. For more information, call 614-294-5200 or visit www.jazzartsgroup.org.