MCLA Allegrettos to Join Jazz Trombonist and Composer Craig Harris for '50 Years After the Fire'


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Renowned jazz trombonist and composer Craig Harris and his band Nation of Imagination will be joined by the award-winning Allegrettos choir in "50 Years after the Fire," for this year's Margaret A. Hart '35 Scholarship Concert.  It will take place on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m. in the Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium at the MCLA Church Street Center.

Each year, MCLA Presents! offers a concert in honor of Dr. Hart, MCLA's first student of color, with all proceeds to go directly to benefit the Margaret A. Hart '35 Scholarship Fund.

 "50 Years after the Fire" will consist of new works composed by Harris, each based on a seminal happening of the civil rights movement from 1962 to 1972, including events such as the March on Washington, the Vietnam War protests, and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and President John F. Kennedy.

Harris' New York City-based band, Nation of Imagination, will join the Allegrettos for an evening of music and bring history back to life. Harris has been working hard on his compositions with the MCLA students as a guest resident to MCLA this semester.

After performing the works with the Allegrettos for "50 Years after the Fire," Harris will go on to take the new compositions he has created on tour throughout the world, over the next decade.

As a musician, Harris has played with the who's who of jazz, including Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jaki Byard, Cecil Taylor, Muhal Richard Abrams, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Lester Bowie, The WORLD Saxophone Quartet, The Roots and RAKIM.  As a composer, his work has been seen around the world. 

Residents of the Berkshires have seen his work at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in "Brown Butterfly" and "God's Trombones." At the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, he has presented "Souls within the Veil," and at Williams College, Harris has offered "God's Trombones," which he also has presented at MCLA, for MCLA Presents!

People magazine said this about Craig's compositions, "Harris, a New Yorker, writes uncramped, unhurried, composition paved with vamping rhythm that give him - not to mention his band - plenty of elbow room. As he states the theme and expounds on it, Harris suggests a sunrise, slowly spreading warmth and splendor."

"True to the MCLA Presents! mission, this performance is a true collaboration between the artist and our students at MCLA," said Emily Schiavoni, the Allegrettos' advisor. "MCLA Presents! always provides a rich experience as it combines what's going on in the performance world with teaching real-life experience and skills in the classroom. This collaboration will be an amazing transformation for the Allegrettos and Craig's work."

According to Allegrettos member Jenny Beers '14 of Sandwich, Mass., the opportunity to work with Harris has been inspiring for the MCLA students who will participate in this concert.

"Craig uses techniques to teach us that we have not seen before, so we are learning as we expand our musical knowledge and skills. I have never worked so intensely," Beers said. "He is brilliant."

Tickets for "50 Years after the Fire" will be specially priced at $15 for all tickets, with the exception of MCLA students, who may attend for free! All of the proceeds from this concert will go directly to benefit the Margaret A. Hart '35 Scholarship Fund.

Tickets may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at (413) 662-5204.~For more information, (413) 664-8718, or go to presents.

MCLA Presents! is a program of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC), a collaborative project with Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and the City of North Adams. The BCRC provides professional development training, resources and support to the artists, art managers and creative workers of Berkshire County. Through its multiple programs and presentations, BCRC brings the best of performance and art to the Berkshires and showcases the best of the Berkshires to the world.

Through the "Creating Equality" series, the MCLA community will examine and honor the dedication, leadership and sacrifice that make social change possible. Through courses, conversations, cultural programs and leadership opportunities, faculty, staff and students will consider the accomplishments and challenges associated with all dimensions of human rights, including racial equality, women's rights, gay rights, immigrants' rights and economic equity.

MCLA is proud to honor these movements and the individuals who have led and supported them, and to provide a platform for discussion of these important issues. "Creating Equality" will celebrate the progress that has been made and challenge the community to understand and become involved with the ongoing national debate about civil rights.

For more information and a complete listing of "Creating Equality" events, go to creatingequality, gallery51, presents and notablespeakers/publicpolicylecture.

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