October 22, 2023

FACULTY RECITAL "Portraits": Alfonzo Cooper, Jr, tenor and Linda Andrews, organ - a dedication performance honoring the Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian - First Presbyterian Church, Macomb
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: First Presbyterian Church:
400 E Carroll St, Macomb IL
Description: This performance is free and all are welcome to attend.

The First Presbyterian Church commissioned Dr. Sharon J. Willis of Atlanta, Georgia, to compose a work dedicated to Macomb native and Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian. The work, titled Portraits of Peace, is a five-movement suite depicting the life and work of C.T. Vivian and was composed for WIU School of Music faculty members Dr. Alfonzo Cooper, Jr., Assistant Professor and C.T. Vivian Diversity Teaching Scholar in Vocal Performance, and Linda Andrews, Instructor of Organ. Dr. Willis will be in attendance at the performance.

Dr. Willis is a prolific composer having penned 16 operatic works, extensive choral works: anthems, spirituals (solo and SATB), cantatas and masses; authored nine plays, nine books, and several Afrocentric historical narratives including the re-enactment of Dr. C. T. Vivianís encounter with Sheriff Jim Clark on the Courthouse steps of Selma, Alabama for Vivianís 94th Birthday Celebration. Dr. Willis served as Music Department Chair at Clark Atlanta University and Morris Brown College before retiring. She currently serves as Sanctuary Choir Director at Hoosier Memorial U.M.C. Recent honors include Distinguished Composer by the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), Inc.; the Kuumba Award of Arts and Letters presented by Delta Sigma Theta; The Atlanta Music Legends Award by The Atlanta African-American Music Society; Spiritual Enlightenment Award Ė Trumpet Awards (2019); Composer of the Year, National Pen Women, and the Samuel Johnson Distinguished Music Educatorís Award 2017). Willis has received numerous commissions including from the American Guild of Organists, the Georgia Music Teachers Association, and Central State University among the many. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, University of Georgia; a Masters in Church Music, Scarritt Graduate School; a Masterís degree in Music, Georgia State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark College.

Additional organ repertoire performed on the concert will include two works by Florence Price, Retrospection and Adoration, Willis' own Ascension Suite, Joel Raney's duet for piano and organ based on Kum Ba Yah, with pianist Gayle Cooper, and solos for tenor voice by Margaret Bonds and Damien Sneed. Concluding the program will be the congregational hymn, When Peace Like a River.

There will be a reception following the program at the church.


Related Web Site: WIU School of Music
Contact Information:
 Joanie Herbert
 Phone: 309-298-1843
 Email: JE-Herbert@wiu.edu
Source: School of Music

Western Illinois University
1 University Circle * Macomb, IL 61455
Phone: 309/298-1414 * E-mail info@wiu.edu
Calendar Administration: webstaff@wiu.edu