An Evening in the Harlem Renaissance

An Evening in the Harlem Renaissance
Artwork: Window Cleaning-Aaron Douglas 1935

An Evening in the Harlem Renaissance is a musical celebration of one of the most exciting times in American History for African-American writers, singers, composers and virtually all creative souls. Written by Soprano, Adrienne Danrich this multi-media program is filled with the sights and sounds of the time, which are brought to life using photos, recordings, and songs that were a big hit during this period, featuring music of Billie Holiday, Margaret Bonds, Harold Arlen, and George Gershwin, among others. The concert will also transport us to the present day as we will hear poems from the Harlem Renaissance set to music by the New York based composer Drew Hemenger along with songs by Ricky Ian Gordon and John Musto. An exciting evening of history told through song and narrative (Commissioned by Indiana University-Pennsylvania. Includes 6 cast members chosen by the producing organization from the community or students & faculty, if presented at a University).


Adrienne Danrich’s Harlem Renaissance in Milwaukee (Urban Milwaukee – Milwaukee, WI)

“Brilliant singing, inspiring history and infectious enthusiasm for a crucial time in American life make this a must-see show.”

An echo of not only the sounds but also the excitement of the Harlem Renaissance electrified the Peck School of the Arts Recital Hall Saturday.

Adrienne Danrich, a world-class soprano with blues in her soul, put on her Evening in the Harlem Renaissance on UWM’s Vocal Arts Series. I talked with Danrich Thursday, but didn’t realize the scope of her show until I experienced it. She brought along Will Johnson, a spectacular bass-baritone with international credits, to give a spine-tingling account of Old Man River, among other numbers. (You can hear Johnson as the Revival Singer on the Florentine Opera’s recording of Elmer Gantry.) She also brought in her assertive but sensitive pianist, Djordje Stevan Nesic. And Danrich has been working with UWM voice students for several days and got some of them into the act, too.

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