From Ella to Mandela

March 11, 2010 at 7:30PM, Auditorium Theatre

The highlight of our 2009-10 Concert Series was our full 57-piece orchestra performance at the Auditorium Theatre, “From Ella to Mandela: The Legacy of the African and American Spirit”. This program presented an exploration of the contributions of female vocalists to the jazz genre, juxtaposed with our African roots in the Nelson Mandela inspired suite, “Hope in Action”.

“From Ella to Mandela” featured some of Chicago’s most celebrated jazz vocalists: Dee Alexander, Terisa Griffin, and Maggie Brown, giving tribute to the legacies of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Billie Holiday. The program's second half presented an encore performance of “Hope in Action” in this acoustically perfect venue. "Hope in Action" premiered on July 21, 2008, at Millennium Park, in honor of Mandela’s 90th birthday celebration to an enthusiastic audience of over 10,000 and with great civic support. This work seamlessly weaves jazz, classical, and South African-inspired melodies, interspersed with moments of inspirational oration taken from Mandela’s speeches. The work culminates with a grand chorus featuring Soul Children of Chicago. Also featured are celebrated Chicago saxophonists Ari Brown and Ernest Dawkins, and a special appearance by T'Keyah Crystal Keymah.


Jazz (March 11, 2010)
“As witnessed by this listener, it was just an evening of damn good music that crossed several genres without the need of a label. Congratulations to Orbert Davis and his cast of hundreds on another successful orchestration by the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic.”-James Walker, Jr.

The Chicago Reader
“The work seamlessly weaves jazz, classical and South African inspired melodies, interspersed with moments of inspirational oration taken from Mandela’s speeches.”