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Lena McLin, niece of famed musician Thomas Dorsey, who was known as the “father of Gospel,” is one of two noted women to conduct the annual “Living Legends Festival” Saturday, April 17, at Peninsula Community Church in Rancho Palos Verdes. The festival was created in 2003 by Hansonia Caldwell, professor emeritus of music, and director of African Diaspora Sacred Music and Musicians program at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
The mission of the festival is to facilitate cultural awareness and preservation by inviting composers and musicians of African descent to perform works created by African Diaspora music professionals.
This year, McLin and Joanna Medawar Nachef will conduct a festival choir composed of a collection of performers from schools, churches, the community, and professional chorus.
Joanna Nachef, a native of Beirut, Lebanon, earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California. Nachef is the director of choral activities at El Camino College, and is on the faculty of California State University, Dominguez Hills.
McLin, who taught 36 years in Chicago public schools, has also gained distinction for her composition of spiritual art songs. She is the author of “Pulse: A History of Music,” and she received her doctorate from Spelman College.