Friday, January 29, 2010

Oh Freedom! from Deanna Hoying

Naoko Suga, Erica Cochran and Phillip Morgan perform Oh Freedom! for Foster Elementary.

Halfway through the tour!

We’re halfway through the OH FREEDOM! tour! Our intrepid performers Erica Cochran, Phillip Morgan and Naoko Suga have traveled more than 600 miles and have performed for more than 3,500 kids! They started the tour in Clinton County, Kentucky (near the border of Tennessee), traveled to Hancock County near Owensboro, KY and throughout greater Louisville. They also performed at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrate Your Dream Concert at St. Stephen for more than 1,000 people.

And every Thursday evening at 5:30, they are performing at the Frazier International Museum as a partnership with the museum, the Fund for the Arts and Kentucky Opera. So far, they’ve performed for more than 200 at these events with the final two on February 4th and 11th.

It’s been a whirlwind with two more weeks to go!

Some comments from the teachers:

Hey Ms. Deanna! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The performance & performers were fantastic!!!! If our kids are bored or not interested in something, you can tell very quickly, because they move around, won’t sit still and talk. Well, they were as quiet as could be, no moving and thoroughly into the program and participated whenever possible. Several of the kids have made thank you cards and it is very apparent that they listened. I will be sending them to Mary Dossett & Laura Barnum at Yum since they sponsored the show, but I am going to ask them to forward them to you. I think you will truly enjoy them. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks, again

40 students attended our performance here at The Brook Dupont. The performance was incredible! Definitely the best program we have seen this year by far! The students were mesmerized, which , for the kids here at the hospital, is a small miracle! Thank you so very much!

There were 75 students, plus or minus a few, plus 5 teachers.
I(and the kids) were enthralled!
It was so wonderfully written, and an amazing retrospective of our American history all inside 45 minutes!
I didn't know how the Gullah culture had influenced Porgy and Bess-
I knew about the fabulous talent of Paul Robeson so was intrigued to hear him mentioned; all the details in the
performance were so relevant to fifth grade topics, as well as what any
informed American should know.
The performers were so talented and engaging, I loved how they answered the kids'
questions so deftly and were able to do what we call"code switching" to meet
the kids at their level of cognition. (A talent not every adult has, heh heh.)
I have had lots of feedback from the kids, they loved the instruments that were featured
and one child told me he loved the "call and response"
(from Swing Low,,,,,)
Hats off to Kentucky Opera and its energetic and talented performers!
Fabulous! we are in your debt at Whitney Young.
Thanks for fitting us into your schedule!
As a long time season ticket holder to KY OPERA, I say "BRAVE!"

Posted for Deanna Hoying, Director of Education

Monday, January 11, 2010


Jazz Musician and composer Harry Pickens works with Kentucky Opera
Winter Studio Artists Phillip Morgan and Erica Cochran on his piece for the Oh
Freedom tour, "A Chorus Of Hope" which will premiere at the Celebrate your Dream
concert on Sunday.

Sometimes my job allows me to witness wonderful events - moments that deserve to be shared with the world as they are poignenet and important. Monday was one such moment.

The first rehearsal of the final work in the Oh Freedom tour was Monday morning. Local jazz hero and composer Harry Pickens worked with Kentucky Opera Winter Studio Artists, Erica Cochran and Phillip Morgan on the piece he created. "A Chorus of Hope" is inspired by the speaches of Barak Obama.

To watch Pickens infuse his passion for this work and the history that made this moment possible was inspiring.

On Sunday, January 17 at 4:30pm, "A Chorus of Hope" will make it's world premiere at St. Stephen Church (1006 South 15th Street) in the collaborative concert, Celebrate your Dream. The free performance will include performances by River City Drum Corps, Arts Reach musicians and dancers, the Louisville Central Community Center choir, Voices of Kentuckiana, members of the Louisville Youth Orchestra and Walden Theatre and Mayor Jerry Abramson will presnent the Freedom Award to retired Courier-Journal editor, Marvin Aubespin.

Oh Freedom! is an exploration of the African American experience through song starting with African folk songs, and ending with "A Chorus of Hope". Studio Artists will tour schools througout the Commonwealth in January and February.

The public is welcome to come to the Frazier International History Museum for the Fund For the Arts' happy hour on Thursday January 21 at 5pm where the full one-hour Oh Freedom! concert will be performed. (RSVP here).