In 2010, NEWorks partnered with the Kennedy Center to develop the festival, JOYFUL SOUNDS: GOSPEL ACROSS AMERICA. Events included: an all-star Signature Opening Concert honoring Edwin Hawkins, Andrae Crouch and Albertina Walker, hosted by Richard Smallwood, and featuring Grammy-award winning artists Kirk Franklin (pictured top-r), Shirley Caesar (pictured bottom-r) and Take 6; a 3000-voice Community-wide Hymn Sing (pictured below); and, concerts by Mavis Staples, The Clark Sisters, Marietta Simpson, J.J Hairston & Youthful Praise, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and more.
NEWorks' partnership with major ARTS and arts-promoting organizations is a vital part of our mission. Our inspirational-arts projects span from coast to coast. Here are a few highlights.
featuring BeBe Winans
GO, TELL IT! is one of two major NEWorks holiday productions. Starring Grammy-award-winning singer BeBe Winans, recording artist Lecresia Campbell, and the Voices of Inspiration—along with an amazing cast of storytellers, dancers, and musicians—GO, TELL IT! was mounted before a capacity crowd in December 2014 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. Produced in partnership with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and in association with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
In 2011 and 2012, NEWorks partnered with the National Symphony Orchestra to develop concert programs for their community engagement. These programs, SANCTUARY: A SACRED SOUND EXPERIENCE and A MIGHTY STREAM: A CELEBRATION OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE AMERICAN FREEDOM MOVEMENT explored innovative creative boundaries with the orchestra and drew capacity crowds. Pictured below are: NEWorks CEO Williams and the SANCTUARY production marquis; the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton (Rep-DC), guest narrator (mid-top); and, harmonicist extraordinaire Frederic Yonnet(mid-bottom) and R&B legend Shirley Murdock, featured artists (r).
NEWorks' second holiday production is the full-scale musical CHRISTMAS GIFT! CHRISTMAS GIFT! tells the story of a 13-year old girl and her journey of self discovery. Premiered in December of 2013 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, this project is currently undergoing further development. Stay tuned for more info.
Gospel Meets Symphony featuring
Marvin Sapp and the Philadelphia Orchestra
To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil RIghts Movement and the 175th anniversary of the birth of early Civil Rights activist Octavius Catto, NEWorks partnered with the Mann Center for the Performing Arts to develop THE PHILADEPHIA FREEDOM FESTIVAL, a six-month, citywide curatorial festival. Programming included: the press conference announcing the festival (top-far l); Let Freedom Sing: A Community Jubilee (top-l); the Taste of Freedom Luncheon honoring nine pioneering Philadelphia women of distinction (top-r); Freedom of Composition, a Master Class at Curtis Institute featuring composer Uri Caine (top-far r); Let Freedom Speak: Voices of our Children (bottom-far l), Octavius Catto: A Philadelphia Freedom Fighter, an arts-in-school assembly that featured students from the acclaimed Rock School for Dance in a commissioned work titled Catto at the Bat(en pointe) (bottom-l); Freedom Rap Session (Poet Nina "Lyrispect", bottom-r);and, the Freedom Youth Jamboree (bottom-r) which featured a surprise visit by the Phillies Phanatic and more than 5,000 youth attendees.
GOSPEL MEETS SYMPHONY was the signature mainstage concert event for the Philadelphia Freedom Festival featuring Gospel superstar Marvin Sapp (pictured-r) along with The Philadelphia Orchestra, a 150-voice multicultural community choir, the world premiere of Uri Caine's commissioned work, The Passion of Octavius Catto, and stirring arrangements of spirituals and freedom songs arranged for choir and orchestra by Festival Artistic Director Nolan Williams, Jr.
Pictured above (front row l-r): Shirley Caesar, Edwin Hakins, Richard Smallwood, Albertina Walker (seated), and (far-r) members of Take 6:
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PHOTO CREDITS: K. DuBose for NEWorks Productions ▪ Billy Heart for NEWorks Productions ▪ DerekBrad Photography ▪ Nathea Lee, PhotoBravura ▪ Jordan August ▪
Mel Epps ▪ Courtesy of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts ▪ Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ▪ Courtesy of Vital Voices