Posted by Kimberly Powell on 01/31/2017


Spirit of America



with Jerod Tate, Edward Knight

and the OKC Philharmonic!


The premier of a brand new oratorio by Oklahoma composer and citizen of the Chickasaw Nation Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate was featured in the first concert this season offered by Canterbury Voices on Friday, October 7th at the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City and is thought to be the first ever sung in the Chickasaw language. Commissioned by the choral Society now in its 47th season the work, titled Misha Sipokni  “The Old Ground,” is scored for chorus, orchestra, children’s chorus and three soloists, and tells the story of the ancient migration of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes east to modern day Mississippi. Tate created the oratorio’s text in English and working closely with Joshua D. Hinson, Lokosh,  director of the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program, Division of History and Culture for the Chickasaw Nation, saw the libretto translated and adapted. 

The program, titled “Spirit of America” opened with the nine-part a cappella choral cycle "Wings of Fire" written in 2002 by Oklahoma composer Edward Knight.  Drawn from musical elements of blues, gospel, chant and hymns, the cycle’s text was inspired by the Book of Psalms (Psalm 51 in particular) and the poetry of Langston Hughes, the African American writer concerned with the uplift of his people, whose strengths, resiliency, courage and humor he wanted to record as part of the general American experience.  Rounding out the program and offered between the two major choral works, are three “Old American Songs” by Aaron Copland and hymn settings by Stephen Paulus, Mack Wilberg and Peter J Whilhousky.

Joining Canterbury Voices for the program, conducted by Randi von Ellefson, is the OKC Philharmonic, soprano Kelly Holst, tenor Jeffrey Picón, bass-baritone Mark McCrory, bagpiper Bruce Robertson and the Canterbury Youth Voices Chorale. 



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