Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration U.S. Tour Dates



Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass, a landmark collaboration of jazz, gospel, instrumentation and vocals, tours U.S. performing arts centers and churches

New York, NY –August 22, 2013 – Raise your voices and lift your hearts as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Damien Sneed, and the 70-piece Chorale Le Chateau announce Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour, an historic hand–clappin’, tambourine-slappin’ celebration scheduled to take place in performing arts centers and churches in the U.S.

On this unique tour, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Damien Sneed, and Chorale Le Chateau will perform Marsalis’ composition Abyssinian Mass, a landmark collaboration of jazz, gospel, instrumentation, and vocals. The Abyssinian Gospel Tour kicks off in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on October 3 and ends in Boston, Massachusetts on October 27 (see tour dates).

Since Marsalis composed and recorded In This House, On This Morning two decades ago, he has remained committed to projecting a theme of universal humanism — and raising a joyful noise —while reflecting the form of the African American church service. Never has Marsalis coalesced the codes of sacred and secular expression more successfully than with the 2008 extended work Abyssinian Mass, commissioned to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Abyssinian Baptist Church on West 138th Street in Harlem.

In select cities, Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration Tour will include education initiatives curated by conductor Damien Sneed and utilizing the talents of gospel artist and educator Karla Scott to engage thousands of high school age choir students to community choir members. In workshop settings, the young participants will study and perform select movements from Abyssinian Mass. These workshops will be supported by online videos featuring Damien Sneed discussing the history of gospel music, cultural background and its relevant styles, as well as specific rehearsal techniques.


October 3 & 4
Chapel Hill, North Carolina – UNC Chapel Hill Memorial Hall

October 5
Norfolk, Virginia – Chrysler Hall

October 6
Washington, D.C. – Kennedy Center

October 8
Charlotte, North Carolina – Friendship Missionary Baptist Church

October 10
Athens, Georgia – University of Georgia

October 11
Augusta, Georgia – Good Shepherd Baptist Church

October 13
New Orleans, Louisiana – Saenger Theatre

October 14
Houston, Texas – Fountain of Praise Church

October 15
Austin, Texas – The Long Center

October 16
Dallas, Texas – The Black Academy of Arts and Letters

October 18
St. Louis, Missouri – Touhill Performing Arts Center

October 19
Kansas City, Missouri – Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts, Helzberg Hall

October 21
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania – Messiah College

October 22
New Haven, Connecticut – Yale University, Woosley Hall

October 24-26
New York, New York – Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall
(Live webcast on:

October 27
Boston, Massachusetts – Symphony Hall

Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration is made possible through the generous lead support of the Steward Family Foundation and Ray and Barbara Dalio. Additional support is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly acknowledges its major corporate partners: Bloomberg, Brooks Brothers, The Coca-Cola Company, Con Edison, Entergy, HSBC Bank, The Shops at Columbus Circle at Time Warner Center, Qatar Airways,and SiriusXM.

MasterCard® is the preferred card of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Qatar Airways is a Premier Sponsor and the Official Airline Sponsor of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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  1. I am so sad I missed this. HAd hoped to fly to NYC to see it and I am hoping one day I can see it on DVD.

    Kalyn JAmes on Oct 27th, 2013 at 7:57pm

  2. Heard them at Messiah College – an unforgettable evening! The venue is amazing and the music made the most of it. We have heard a multitude of concerts in our 75 years. This will rank with the top 2 or 3. The quality of the performance was as good as it gets, but the musical and lyrical content was also memorable. This has to be available soon on CD.

    David Brandt on Oct 26th, 2013 at 12:02pm

  3. I heard about this on NPR and had to look at the tour dates. For those of you on the East Coast fortunate enough to attend, take advantage of the moment.

    If it were on the West coast I would take my son in a heartbeat. It’s a joy to see him absorb and apply different musical ideas in his playing. I believe this music will “speak” to him. A DVD is alright, but it doesn’t have the impact of a live performance.

    As much as I’d like to see this happen on the West coast, there are many points in between the coasts I hope this will travel to.

    Michael on Oct 19th, 2013 at 5:21pm

  4. We just heard the NPR story and went immediately online to buy tickets. We were so disappointed to find no performances in California. Please let us know if this changes.

    Claudia Keith on Oct 19th, 2013 at 11:04am

  5. Please come out West!

    Shan on Oct 19th, 2013 at 11:01am

  6. Devastated that I just heard about this…3 days after the nearest show :(
    Looking forward to a recording!

    jen on Oct 19th, 2013 at 11:01am

  7. I heard about this on NPR this morning and would love to know how to purchase a CD or DVD of this. This is so exciting for me. I wish the tour was coming to a city near me.
    Lila in Colorado Springs

    Lila Mori on Oct 19th, 2013 at 10:23am

  8. My heart-felt appreciation to the choir, composer, instrumentalists, and to the conductor for one of the most life-changing spiritual and musical evenings of my 75 years! We attended in Austin, Texas. Thank you!!

    Juliana Michie on Oct 18th, 2013 at 4:01pm

  9. Saw the concert at the Fountain of Praise last night.

    Excellent voices and performances. I wish more young people would have attended. This is “MUSIC”.

    Tina on Oct 15th, 2013 at 10:09am

  10. How can i order a copy of the cd?

    zack gray on Oct 10th, 2013 at 7:16pm

  11. How can I order the gospel CD?

    Lori Hines Jones on Oct 8th, 2013 at 9:33pm

  12. This concert was a historic moment for the Kennedy Center and a monumental one for American music! Deeply moving; breathtaking in its achievment. Immediately and thoroughly accessible. A profound gift to us all.

    Bruce Miller on Oct 7th, 2013 at 3:16am

  13. Just attended the show at Kennedy Center and it was absolutely AMAZING!!

    Jeff Robinson on Oct 6th, 2013 at 9:11pm

  14. My daughter (15 years old) and I were blessed to see this concert in Norfolk, VA. We were only familiar with Mr. Marsalis’ trumpet work (jazz and classical), so we did not know what to expect from the evening. This performance blew us away! Voices and instruments fused together as one sound of uplifting PRAISE! We were still raving about it the following day! I told my sister (who will see the same performance tonight in D.C.) to get ready for a TREAT! (Actually, we’re jealous that we cannot see it again with her!) Whole families will enjoy this performance, not just the adults! Nothing beats the energy of a live concert, but I too hope that a CD or DVD of this production will be released at some point! We would like to thank the Virginia Arts Festival and the Marsalis Foundation for their generosity in allowing us to enjoy this outstanding performance.

    Vivian Hayes on Oct 6th, 2013 at 4:29pm

  15. We are still talking about the concert we saw in Norfolk last nite. Amazing. Perfection. We too want to hear it again on CD!!! My sister in law was in town from Augusta GA….so excited to discover there is a performance there next week. She is thrilled to be able to attend again there!!!

    Joy Bolander on Oct 6th, 2013 at 8:07am

  16. This was a fantastic and inspirational concert. I blessed enough to attend it in Norfolk VA. I hope that they will eventually release a CD or DVD of this production / concert.

    Eric Carcana on Oct 6th, 2013 at 12:25am