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Gospel Choir Presents 'Evening of Spirituals and Ballads' During Diversity Week

The Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir will host a free “Evening of Spirituals and Ballads: Common Roots” 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26 at the Newman Center, 90 Broad St., Plattsburgh.

The concert, being held in conjunction with SUNY Plattsburgh’s Diversity Week and in honor of Black History Month, will feature a musical reenactment of Negro spirituals and inspirational ballads by the choir and guest artist, Middlebury College’s Alexander Twilight Artist in Residence emeritus Dr. Francois Clemmons. 

Works by Thomas Dorsey, Hall Johnson, William Dawson, James Cleveland, Richard Smallwood and Raymond Wise will be performed, along with dance and spoken word, all meant to shed light on the American genre.

“We’re so pleased to have Francois Clemmons join us this year,” said Dr. Dexter Criss, Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir artistic director and professor of chemistry. “Dr. Clemmons, an internationally known singer and choir director, created the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble in the 1980s and won a Grammy for his role as “Sportin’ Life” in ‘Porgy and Bess.’ He sang with the Metropolitan Opera Studio and is also known for his appearances on ‘Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,’ in which he played the part of Officer Clemmons throughout the 1970s. He brings the depth of his musical experience to enrich our understanding of the American spiritual.”

The concert is co-sponsored by the Center for Diversity, Pluralism and Inclusion and the Department of Music. For more information, contact Criss at 518-564-2704 or email [email protected]

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