“Lift Every Voice,” Celebrating Black Composers

Free online event


Lift Every Voice, Celebrating Black Composers. Joanne and Bill Church West Circle Series. Photo collage of 7 past and present composers

Video premiere of performances from MSU musicians

A tribute to Black composers around the world and through the centuries. The program illustrates the wide range of contributions of Black composers from a classical violin and piano sonata, to saxophone and piano, ragtime, arias and spirituals, and of course, America’s music – Jazz. The story guide is Dr. Stephanie Anthony, director of the Office of College Access Initiatives at Michigan State University Outreach and Engagement.

MSU Artists: Gwendolyn Dease, marimba; Jon Weber, vibraphone; Yvonne Lam, violin; Deborah Moriarty, piano; Joseph Lulloff, saxophone; Mark Rucker, baritone, Sadie Rucker, piano; Xavier Davis, jazz piano; Rodney Whitaker, jazz bass; and Randy Gelispie, jazz drums.

The entire West Circle Series is sponsored by Joanne and Bill Church who are joined by concert sponsors Provost Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D and Thomas V. O'Halloran, Ph.D, Byron and Dee Cook, April Clobes and Glen Brough, and Andrea L. Wulf in supporting this event

Monday, October 12, 7:30 p.m.
Click here to watch on the MSU College of Music Livestream Channel


  • Songs to the Dark Virgin, by Florence Price; Mark Rucker, baritone; Sadie Rucker, piano
  • Spirituals: O Holy Lord, and Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child by Florence Price; Joe Lulloff, saxophone, and Deborah Moriarty, piano
  • Urban Cityscapes by Jason Hainsworth; Gwen Dease, marimba; Jon Weber, vibraphone
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano by Joseph Boulogne; Yvonne Lam, violin; Deborah Moriarty, piano
  • Romance by William Grant Still; Joe Lulloff, saxophone; Deborah Moriarty, piano
  • Four songs by Lena McLin: If I Could Give You All I Have, My Love, I’m a Soldier, He came to Alabama; Mark Rucker, baritone; Sadie Rucker, piano
  • The Crave by Jelly Roll Morton and Solitude by Duke Ellington; Xavier Davis, piano
  • Wade In The Water, arr by Ramsey Lewis (composed by Donald McCullough) Rodney Whitaker, bass; Xavier Davis, piano; Randy Gelispie, drums

Please join those who champion music at MSU!

We know you share our disappointment that we will not have live performance experiences this fall. We look forward to the day when we can once again welcome you safely to our venues, in-person, for the magic of live concerts. As patrons and donors who have enjoyed the remarkable talents of faculty, students and visiting artists, will you continue to show your support during this extraordinary time? Please consider donating your annual ticket purchase of $100, $300*, or perhaps $600* as a charitable contribution to the College of Music. Or, consider sponsoring a concert at $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000. For more information about concert sponsorship opportunities this fall, please email music.giving@msu.edu or call the College of Music Advancement Office at 517-353-9872.

Click here to make a secure online credit card gift to the College of Music

*The CARES ACT tax benefits for 2020 allow taxpayers to take a charitable deduction of up to $300 per individual and $600 per couple filing jointly, for those who take the standard deduction. As always, please consult your tax advisor for advice on your specific situation.

Date, time and program details may be subject to change.

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