CHAKA, An Opera in Two Chants

May 6-7,2000: A US premiere production sponsored by the St. Louis African Chorus, and partly funded by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and Anheuser-Busch Companies.

An international cast from the United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States converge in St. Louis, Missouri, for the US Premiere of Dr. Akin Euba’s opera. The opera is scored for soloists, Yoruba chanter, chorus, dancers, and an orchestra of Western and African Instruments.

Tickets:

$10, available at the St. Louis African Chorus Box Office, 634 North Grand, Suite 1143, St. Louis.

Student, Senior and Group discounts available. 
Call 652-6800

Cast Biographies

Collie D. Collie - CHAKA

A native of St. Louis, Collie started his singing career under the tutelage of Kemara Skinner. "His rich bass voice attracts immediate attention," says Fred Onovwerosuoke, director of the St. Louis African Chorus. For the third year, Collie is touring with Pieces of 8, the nationally acclaimed a cappella group. When time and money permit, he enjoys rock climbing, skydiving, and traveling. Collie also enjoys fellowship with his family, friends and his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi.

 

Ray Sherrock - WHITE VOICE

A native of New Mexico, Ray received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the New Mexico State University in 1988. He has performed in a variety of vocal ensembles in Alaska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Vermont, including the New Hampshire-based New England Revels, a performing organization dedicated to the study and presentation of folk music, art, literature and dance. In addition to his performance credits with the Revels, he also served as their summer Music Director. Ray is a founding member of Pieces of 8 and is Vocal Director for the ensemble. Ray is very interested in percussion instruments and has studied Brazilian percussion music. He recently performed with the St. Louis African Chorus in the US Premiere of a cappella pieces composed by Ikoli Hartcourt-Whyte.

Joyce Adewumi - NOLIWE

Ms. Adewumi’s studies in voice and dance began in New York, and later continued in Nigeria at the Universities of Ife, Nsukka, and Uyo. As a leading soprano in Nigeria, Joyce gave numerous recitals especially of the music of new-African composers such as Ayo Bankole, Akin Euba, Meki Nzewi, and Joshua Uzoigwe. She is also innovative as choreographer of contemporary African dance. Whether singing or choreographing, Joyce aims at promoting the works of contemporary African and African-American composers. She is a member of the Commonwealth Music Association, Nigerian Society for Music Education and Research, and Musical Society of Nigeria. Ms. Adewumi works in New York as a vocal consultant.

Folasayo Dele-Ogunrinde - YORUBA CHANTER

Folasayo, a multifaceted artist is an actress, writer, model, visual artist, performance poet and a gospel singer. Her stage credits include Going Forth By Day, Chicago, and The Christmas Story. She is also the author of a 1989 British Council Prize winning play The Woman With a Past (Heinemann Books) and Conversations With The Soul At 3:00AM (Home of African Concepts)-a collection of love poems and art photography. Formally trained as a scientist, she earned a Master’s degree in animal nutrition but now works full-time as an artist. Folasayo contributes to science by volunteering in cancer-related research.

DeBorah Ahmed - DANCE & CHOREOGRAPHY

A native of St. Louis, Ms. Ahmed is a leading interpreter of African dance, and the national director of BlackDanceUSA. She will be assisted by Theo Jamieson, a dancer/choreo-grapher with the SIUE East St. Louis Performing Center.

Akin Euba - COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCE

Dr. Akin Euba has had a wide-ranging career as a scholar, composer and performer, spanning over 40 years. As a composer, Euba’s creative idiom derives from his fluency in both the African and Western musical cultures and many of his compositions combine elements from the two. Euba has published widely on the topic of neo-African art music and has been credited for initiating several theories and creative concepts such as African Pianism, Intercultural composition, creative ethnomusicology, etc. Dr. Akin Euba is founder and director of the Centre for International Music Arts, a British charity, based in London. He is also Andrew Mellon Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, PA. He is currently working on a new book, Bridging Ethnomusicology and Composition: A study of J.H. Kwabena Nketia. Akin Euba is cited in Brian Morton and Pamela Collins’ Contemporary Composers (Chicago and London: St. James’s Press, 1992) and in Eileen Southern’s Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1982), and in the International Dictionary of Black Composers.

Leon Burke - MUSIC DIRECTOR/CONDUCTOR

A native St. Louisan, Dr. Leon Burke, III earned a degree in composition from the Oberlin Conservatory and graduate degrees from the University of Kansas. Before taking a Fullbright fellowship in South America, Burke served as Music Director of the Lawrence Chamber Players, the Hutchinson Symphony, and the Metropolitan Ballet of Topeka. Burke is currently the Music Director/Conductor of the University City Symphony (MO), and Resident Conductor for the Belleville Philharmonic Society (IL). He continues as Permanent Principal Guest conductor of the National Orchestra of Paraguay and Conductor for the Metropolitan Ballet of Topeka. From time to time he works with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Opera Theater of St. Louis.

Fred Onovwerosuoke - PRODUCING DIRECTOR

Born in Ghana to Nigerian parents, ‘Fred O’ founded the St. Louis African Chorus, and as Artistic Director, has led the group to national and international acclaim. Recent production credits include African Music Conference & Festival, HEWALE! Ceremonial Drums of Ghana, and Eritrea: In Song and Dance.

CHORUSES -

St. Louis African Chorus, Webster University Chorale & Choral Club, Webster Choral Society, Soldan International Studies High School Choir, directed by Fred Onovwerosuoke, Kathy-Bowers Smith, Denis Nall, and Kemara Skinner, respectively.

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