Thursday, November 15, 2018

Diddy's Ex-GF Kim Porter Dead at 47 - LIVE COVERAGE

Watch Live: California Wildfires Special | "Scorched Earth"

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Severe flooding causes Italy bridge collapse

Venice flooding puts three-quarters of the city under its worst water le...

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Collapse of the Ponte Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, 081418

Riccardo Morandi Bridges
The demise of the reinforced concrete bridge

Major Bridges Around the World Are Collapsing—Here's Where the Risk Lies

Ponte Morandi Bridge after its collapse, in Genoa Italy, Aug 14, 2018.
 Image result for morandi sicily bridge

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Summer Poets Corner: "Aretha" by Maria

"Aretha" by Maria

She was the Queen of Soul

Her heart was good as gold

She had the voice of the gods

The angels sang her lauds

She played piano like none other

Arranged and wrote songs and some she’d cover

She walked and talked with Martin Luther King

Songs of freedom she did sing

With a mix of hot buttered soul she did bring

And demanded RESPECT the least  of all things

She sang oh Mary don’t you weep oh Martha don’t you moan

Every song she sang she clearly made her own

We will miss her much but she’s in heaven now

She has made her last and final humble bow

Her beloved audience will think of her and often shed a tear

We’ve lost someone whom we cherish and whom we love so dear

But Queens Reign forever at least that’s what I’m told

And now she’ll sing with the angels where the streets are paved with gold

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summer Poets Corner: You Are a Living Instrument by Maria


You are a living instrument. You represent all the colors of an orchestra. Inside yourself. You are a rainbow of sound, representing a flute, a piccolo, an oboe, a clarinet, a bassoon, a trumpet, a violin, a viola, a cello, a double bass, and percussion.  All inside of yourself.

You are a living instrument. You have the power to bring a sound that would carry over a 80 piece orchestra producing sounds and overtones simultaneously changing lives awares and unawares.

You are a living instrument. You have two vocal cords that give life to sound, sound to life, and life to acoustics, touched by the power of God to bring forth His divine purpose and glory. In you.

You are a living instrument. Your body is the divine headquarters of the Holy Ghost wherein God administers His will through you and the Holy Ghost administers Gods divine order. In you.

You are a living instrument. Protect and guard it, admonish it and train it, love it and bless it, and be a blessing to someone with it. Make peace with it, trust it, accept it, work with it, receive it, understand it, care for it, soothe it. You have been honored to host it. The Lord be praised.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

James Davis, Jr: The Man, The Music, The Maestro

One of the most recognized emerging music directors, James Davis Jr. has proven to be an artistic leader who captivates musicians, audiences, and communities with his deep passion for music.

As a music director, producer, conductor, performer, arranger and teacher, James is actively involved in the modern effort to preserve live music performance and to present music as an essential part of our culture and education.

James’ musicianship and artistic sensitivity both as a performer and a director has afforded him the opportunity to collaborate with a myriad of notable artists across genres including Ashford & Simpson, Alicia Keys, Jessye Norman, John Legend, Lyle Lovett, Richard Smallwood and Wynton Marsalis.

His work behind the scenes is as equally intriguing as his stage presence as a conductor and instrumentalist.  Known for his masterful productions and entertainment business acumen, James is on the short list of music directors who are sought out by industry professionals for music-related events and projects. James is the founder and President of JDJ Music, Inc. and has made an imprint both culturally and globally on the music scene.  Most recently serving as the Associate Music Director for Arena Stage’s 2014 production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, James has supervised musical productions at Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Apollo Theater, to name a few.  Additionally, James was appointed Artistic Director/Curator of the August 2014 Lagos Jazz Festival in Lagos, Nigeria. James also served as the Director of Music Ministries & Fine Arts at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City from 2007-2017 and is currently the Associate Music Director for Opera Ebony. He has produced and arranged music for both film and television, including Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer and State Farm’s commemorative commercial for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, which aired nationwide.
A native of Winstonville, Mississippi, James’ musical skills were evident from a very young age, as he started playing the piano on his own at age three. His first formal musical training commenced at age seven studying piano and music theory with H. E. Marshall. James graduated from Morehouse College in 2004, where he studied piano with W. Floyd Ruffin and Joyce Johnson of Spelman College. He also studied organ performance and literature with David Oliver and choral and orchestral conducting with David Morrow. Additionally, James participated in piano master classes with Awadaggin Pratt, Stewart Goodyear and Joseph Joubert and conducting master classes with Robert Spano and Donald Runnicles. Also, while attending Morehouse,  James became accompanist for the renowned Morehouse College Glee Club and by his senior year was named Student Conductor, a position that had not been attained by a non-music major in 25 years. In the summer of 2003, in the absence of the director David Morrow, he led the Morehouse Glee Club on a week-long tour of California cities. James is master of instruments in the keyboard family, including piano, pipe organ, Hammond B3 organ and synthesizer. His solid music education and natural born talent fuels his intrinsic drive to perform and produce music of all styles. Currently James resides in New York City.  

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Marvin Lowe & Friends: A Soulful Celebration

 Maria's Music Review: "Marvin Lowe & Friends: The Voices of A Soulful Celebration"

Marvin Lowe, a veteran of New York City Opera,  invites classical singers to share their talents in his annual concert.

Marvin Lowe, Bass Baritone
Mae Carrington, Soprano
Maria Freeman, Soprano
Lucia Bradford, Mezzo-Soprano
Nicole Mitchell, Contralto
Larry Hylton, Tenor
Samuel McKelton, Tenor
Clayton G. Williams, Bass
Melvin Greenwich, Cellist
Roy Jennings, Piano
Rasaan Bourke, Music Director
On Sunday, March 5, at 4pm, African-American classical singers came together to celebrate The Negro Spiritual, The Oratorio, and to Salute Broadway, in Marvin Lowe's annual concert "A Soulful Celebration" at St Philip's Episcopal Church, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. It was on a dreamy mid-Winter's afternoon, where the joy of music was bestowed on listening ears,  touching hearts and changing lives. The choir, which included the entire cast of singers, led the concert with Let Heavenly Music Fill this Place by Gordon Young, No Harm Have I Done You-an African-American Heritage Hymn, and Total Praise by Richard Smallwood conducted by Maestro Rasaan Bourke, Music Director. The program was broken up into 3 parts; negro spirituals, a dedication to deceased loved ones, and a salute to Broadway, with an intermission followed by a reception. Negro spirituals arranged by Moses Hogan, Roy Jennings, H.T. Burleigh, and Roland Carter amongst others, were performed in traditional manner invoking great black artists from the past.  Marvin Lowe's Steal Away and Po' Mo'ners Got a Home at Las' echoed memories of Paul Robeson as his honeyed baritone filled the sanctuary, while Nicole Mitchell's  I Don't Feel No Ways Tired and Calvary incited memories of Marian Anderson with her dulcet contralto. Lucia Bradford sang Moses Hogan's Deep River with her flawless mezzo, and later graced the congregation with Pie Jesu from Maurice Durufle's Requiem in part 2. Mae Carrington rendered Give Me Jesus, Great is thy Faithfulness, and a selection from the Wiz with her sweet silvery soprano, spellbinding listeners. Sam McKelton's tenor  in Ingemisco from Jose Nunez-Garcia's Requiem gave exiting vocal overtones in part 2, while Larry Hilton's  Something's Coming from West Side Story resounded through the sanctuary like a trumpet during the Broadway segment. Other selections in the program included songs from Ragtime, Showboat, and Faure's Requiem. Melvin Greenwich, accomplished cellist from Harlem and co-founder of Ensemble Sepia, played a beautiful a capella rendition of Swing Low (Sweet Chariot)  arranged by Lawrence Brown while Roy Jennings, accompanying many of the singers, played his own solo arrangement of Lift Every Voice and Sing at the piano.  At the Prelude and at the Postlude, Maestro Rasaan Bourke played an  Improvisation on a Theme and an Improvisation on a Medley of Spirituals at the Guilbault-Thérien organ, with great energy, beauty, and perfection. The concert ended with a magnificent standing ovation, Glorifying God.

A Soulful Celebration is a Marvin Lowe Enterprise. For bookings contact Marvin Lowe at 212-694-2763. A bass–baritone with a rich voice, Philadelphia native Marvin Lowe has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He has sung with New York City Opera, Washington Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Ebony, Virginia Opera and Trilogy Opera Company. His operatic credits include roles in the New York City Opera’s productions of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha. He has sung in Opera Ebony’s productions of Dorothy Rudd-Moore’s Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet, A Woman Called Moses and the New Federal Theater’s production of Opera of Marie Laveaux. With Trilogy Opera Company he has sung in Trevor Weston’s (4), Dorothy Rudd-Moore’s Harriet, A Woman Called Moses, and Thea Musgrave’s Frederick Douglas.

~  Reviewed by Maria Antoinette Freeman