Concert Choir honors Tubman and Fitzgerald April 2

  • Friday, March 17, 2017
    Concert Choir at Harriet Tubman Visitor Ctr. opening. Photo: MDNR

    The University of Maryland Eastern Shore pays tribute to “two American icons of history and culture,” Harriet Tubman and Ella Fitzgerald, at its April 2 Concert Choir performance, said Dr. Sheila McDonald Harleston, director. 

    The 4 p.m. concert is free and will be performed in the university's performing arts center, the Ella Fitzgerald Center, named after the jazz singer.  Fitzgerald attended the Oct. 27, 1974 dedication of the building. 

    The timing couldn't be more appropriate, Harleston said, for recognizing the women.  The choir recently performed at grand opening ceremonies for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center near Cambridge, Md. and the nation observes the centennial celebration of Ella Fitzgerald's birth.

     On Fitzgerald's birthday, April 25, UMES also will observe the milestone with a jazz celebration in her honor.  A noon lecture, a 4 p.m. master class, a 7 p.m. concert and other activities are planned throughout the day.

     “Although the nature of their achievements differed, music was a common denominator in their success,” Harleston said. “Tubman, known as the 'Moses of her people,' used the words of Negro spirituals as codes in guiding slaves to freedom and Fitzgerald, known as the 'Queen of Scat,' was a pioneer among black female vocalists, especially jazz artists.” 

    The concert will also feature Dr. Devonna Rowe, soprano-a recent addition to UMES' music faculty.  Admission is free at the door.  Call 410-651-UMES for more information.

    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-651-7580.