Music Performance “Takes You There”
November 19, 2012
On November 30, Columbia College Chicago presented “I’ll Take You There: Homage to Blues and Gospel” at the Columbia College Chicago Dance Center, celebrating two of America’s most beloved musical genres. The 90-minute, multimedia performance featured the Columbia College Chicago Music faculty, Columbia students and other outstanding Chicago artists, celebrating music makers that have contributed to the history, culture, traditions and evolution of these musical genres.
When asked about the show’s background and music selection, Music faculty member Bobbi Wilsyn, who came up with the idea for the show and is also performing, explained, “Before you can address jazz, you reference the elements that have evolved from blues and gospel. And blues and gospel couldn't have evolved without the music of slaves and the traditional spiritual.”
Performers included contemporary gospel singers Leanne Faine, Jonathan MacReynolds and LaShera Moore. The featured faculty performers included blues singer/guitarist Fernando Jones, contemporary singer H.E. Baccus, soprano Jonita Lattimore and jazz/blues singer, Wilsyn. The Columbia College Chicago Gospel Repertory Ensemble, a group of students who focus on traditional, contemporary and urban gospel music, lent their talents to the performance as well, under the direction of choral arranger/conductor, Walter Owens.
“Students and alumni have a role in every aspect of this show,” Wilsyn said. “Students make up the Gospel Repertory Ensemble and are included in the band. We are particularly proud to feature our two alumni singers, LaShera Moore and Jonathan MacReynolds. Even a recent fashion alumna, Kate Grube, is designing the costumes!”
The multimedia performance included projected images that provided background and context for the music. Music selections for “I’ll Take You There” followed the progression of gospel music from the traditional to the contemporary, while saluting the women and men who sing and play the blues.
Photo: Music Department faculty member Bobbi Wilsyn performing. (Credit: Foster Garvin)