This Little Light of Mine: The Stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price
Artwork: Aimee Martini (2017)
This Little Light of Mine, written and performed over 80 times by EMMY® Award Winning Soprano Adrienne Danrich, is an inventive one- woman musical tribute honoring the ground-breaking careers of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price. Danrich’s storytelling ability, the beauty of her voice, and poignant multi-media images creatively document the lives of these two internationally renowned artists who overcame many racial barriers from the Jim Crow era through the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. Two courageous women, two incredible voices and one unforgettable, hope filled story (2011 Midwest Emmy Winner-Adrienne Danrich for Outstanding Crafts Achievement for On-Camera Talent – Program Performer/Narrator’, Milwaukee Public Television; 2011 Midwest Emmy Nominee ‘Outstanding Achievement for Arts/Entertainment Programming’; Commissioned by Cincinnati Opera 2007).
She’s Gonna Let It Shine (Urban Milwaukee – Milwaukee, WI)
“Danrich’s spinto soprano is deep, expansive and powerful. She was stunning in arias from Puccini’s Turandot and Madame Butterfly, and she is a skilled interpreter of spirituals.”
Adrienne Danrich can really sing.
Danrich wrote This Little Light of Mine (commissioned by the Cincinnati Opera) to tell the stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price through their own recordings, quotes, pictures, and her own interpretations of the arias and spirituals that made them famous. Danrich focuses mostly on the racial barriers that these breached to lead the way for African Americans in this country and in the world of opera…
BCO Adrienne Danrich Shines Bright in “This Little Light of Mine” (Operagasm.com)
“Adrienne Danrich is definitely on my soprano radar as of now. She needs to be on yours.”
Baltimore Concert Opera’s “This Little Light of Mine” is a miracle to behold and a perfect way to recognize Black History Month through the arts this weekend! If you are able to attend tomorrow (Sunday, March 1st), GET THERE.
Adrienne Danrich is not only a gifted singer, but also a beautifully articulate speaker on and off the proverbial cuff. The soprano essayed the groundbreaking careers of two towering pioneering black women in classical music: Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price. What was most remarkable about the performance was the way in which she illuminated the determination and fruition of their careers alongside the very real racism that these singer faced on a daily basis. We forget how far we’ve come sometimes…
Overcoming obstacles (Laredo Morning Times – Laredo, TX)
A message of hope echoed throughout the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Fine Arts Center Sunday afternoon.
Soprano Adrienne Danrich introduced the life of opera singers Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price through “This Little Light of Mine.” Anderson and Leontyne were two singers who overcame the obstacles of racism. One of Anderson’s painful experiences dates back when she applied to music school. Though Anderson was first in line, the receptionist kept calling the people behind her.
“We don’t take colored,” Danrich said, portraying the receptionist. Later she replied as Anderson, “Can’t I sing. Can’t I sing because I’m colored?”
Danrich took the audience in an educational tour. She cited the Jim Crow laws where all people were separate but equal. This added segregation to the nation in having separate restaurants, schools, among other instances, she said.
“With all the negativity forced on them, they never gave up their dreams of becoming singers,” Danrich said.
Danrich wrote the stories of Anderson and Price under a commission from the Cincinnati Opera. But Danrich added her touch. Her solo musical tribute honoring Anderson and Leontyne involved the public as Danrich interacted and questioned the audience about the singers.
Danrich defines it as a “live documentary,” where people enjoyed black and white picture slides from the singers’ life and some original audio excerpts played throughout the event. Danrich said people can identify themselves with the message and adapt it to their lives.
“People can be disfranchised in every race,” Danrich said.
She encouraged attendants to take the opportunity to achieve their goals in life regardless of the obstacles. Combined College Orchestra director Brendan Townsend led an orchestral accompaniment by Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University, with assistance from the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communication and Fine Arts. Townsend proposed to Danrich to have an orchestration with piano to immerse the audience. He was pleased.
“It makes an emotional impact,” Townsend said. “It adds extra dimension to the story.”
Townsend said he wanted to bring the show to Laredo to target Hispanics by applying the message to young people in Laredo. He said once they move on in life to other cities, they face the challenges of the world. Laredoans came out the center satisfied.
“I enjoyed it tremendously,” said Mona Hachar, a Laredo resident. “I thank the colleges for bringing events like these.”
Sarah Ochoa, also a Laredo resident, felt the 60-minute show was not enough. She would come back several times to watch it.
“I wish it started again,” Ochoa said as she walked to the exit.