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Living Legends Festival honors musicians


The Living Legends Festival (LLF) is scheduled Friday and Saturday, April 17-18 at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH).  The LLF concert will begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 19, at Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd., the Rev. Henry L. Masters, pastor.

The concert, a celebration of the musical masters of African Diaspora sacred music, will honor Dr. Rosephanye Powell, composer, associate professor of voice and coordinator of Voice Studies at Auburn University in Alabama.  Prof. Iris Stevenson, conductor and composer, director of Choral Activities and chairperson of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Crenshaw High School, will also be honored.

Other participants will include voices from the Crenshaw Elite Choir, Westchester High School Concert Choir, Michael Wright, director; Dorsey High School Choir, Crystal Nichols, director; the dlw Community Chorale, Dr. Don Lee White, director; the Delta Choraliers, Mrs. Danellen Joseph, director; along with the voices from the Jubilee Choir and Chamber Singers from CSUDH; and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Chorus, Dr. Hansonia Caldwell, director.

Dr. Powell holds degrees from Alabama State University, Westminster Choir College, and Florida State University.  She has served on the faculties of Philander Smith College and Georgia Southern University, before coming to Auburn.

A soprano, Dr. Powell has been featured in many recitals, concerts and oratorio performances throughout the United States.  She has distinguished herself as a researcher, interpreter and performer of solo vocal works by William Grant Still and the African American spirituals.

Dr. Powell is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the American Choral Directors Association, the College Music Society, the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Music Educators National Conference.

Prof. Stevenson attended Villa Maria Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and taught at Canisius College in New York, while receiving her master’s of fine arts in pedagogy from State University of New York in Buffalo.

She was recruited by the Los Angeles Unified School District to teach at Crenshaw High School in 1985.  Crenshaw has since honored her with the dedication of the Iris Stevenson Music Wing.  In 2001, President Jacques Chirac and the Ministry of Education of France, commemorated the global work of Prof. Stevenson by re-naming its Fine Arts building in Tarare, France.

“Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” starring Whoopi Goldberg, was inspired by the life and music of Prof. Stevenson and the Crenshaw Elite Choir. Under her direction, the award-winning Elite Choir gave  command  performances at the private residences of Prince Charles at St. James’ Palace in London, England; the Royal Grimaldio family of Prince Rainier in Monaco; the Dalai Lama and numerous heads of state around the world including China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Her music in various genres and languages has been recorded and she has received Grammy and Emmy nominations.  Her published works include the internationally acclaimed Yes, Lord! Hymnal of the Church of God in Christ, Inc.

Dr. Hansonia Caldwell, of CSUDH Music Department, and its Georgia and Nolan Payton Archive and Program For the Study of Africa Diaspora Sacred Music and Musicians, the sponsors, invite the public to attend.

For more information, call (310) 749-3186.