Tuesday night we played Woolsey Hall on the campus of Yale University.
Tuesday night we played Woolsey Hall on the campus of Yale University. Colleges, with the concentration of intellectual pursuit and the heightened intensity of male/female interchanges, have always been fantastic sites for Jazz concerts. However, we did not play for an audience of college age students. It was an older, more patient group. They sat in the Hall with the weightiness of deep listeners. This Mass is two hours in total and, as with any long music, after a combined hour and twenty minutes, people get restless—not last night. Their attitude affected our pacing. Where we would normally feel the need to rush, they gave us the sense that it was ok to take our time.
Though they were not overly demonstrative, we had the sense that they were always with us. I could see them following all the words in the program, and we were given a most heartfelt and rich applause at the end. It was a gratifying performance and we are grateful to Reverend Bonita Grubbs and Christian Community Action for having welcomed us to New Haven.
We will be in our home, Frederick P. Rose Hall, for the next three days and then on to a final concert in Boston on Sunday. So, this is the last night of actual touring. After the concert, the choir and band go to various watering holes around the hotel and begin to assemble for 12:30 and 1am call times. There is, of course, a euphoric excitement about returning home to see loved ones and sleep in your own bed. But there is also a feeling of loss. This extended family is winding down and will never be exactly the same again. We linger for a moment with each other in unspoken recognition that the landscape of our lives has been altered forever.
For road manager Raymond Murphy, this is his last night of tour. He’s going home to Maryland. We call him Boss and the choir calls him Uncle Ray. He has done a fantastic job managing a very large group. This has been a well organized and well run tour. Congratulations to him and to our bus drivers. Band drivers Paul Pryor and Tim McWilliams, and choir drivers Greg Miller and Monty Walls carried us safely for these last weeks, many times driving through the night. They were dependable, hospitable and soulful. Thank you all.
Let’s hear from Damien Sneed, the leader of Chorale Le Chateau:
I met Clinton Ingram earlier this year while conducting the opera HARRIET TUBMAN by Nkeiru Okoye. He played the role of Harriet’s father and I immediately knew he would be a perfect fit for Chorale Le Chateau and the Abyssinian Mass. Clinton Ingram:
Wow! We had such a wonderful and uplifting performance of “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration!” last night at Yale University. Forty-four years ago (1969) I graduated from the Yale School of Music with a Master of Music degree in Voice. During the two wonderful years I spent there (1967-1969) I had the privilege of attending and performing in concerts at Woolsey Hall. Never in my wildest imagination would I have believed that 44 years later I would again have the privilege of performing there, and, especially with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis and as a member of Chorale Le Chateau under the direction of the musically gifted Damien Sneed. It not only brought back memories of my time at Yale, but also gave me pause to reflect upon what a blessing it was to be a part of such a glorious experience and full-circle journey.
“All Glory Be…!”
Clinton Ingram, Tenor
We look forward to our three performances in Rose Theater on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Please be sure to check in to our live webcasts of the performances.
“Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration”, will be on tour on October 3-23, and will be webcast live on October 24th, 25th and 26th at 8PM ET on http://wyntonmarsalis.org/live