Artist Robert Shetterly and the AWTT staff can’t stop talking about their visit to Swarthmore last weekend for the Chester Children’s Chorus concert and Shetterly’s unveiling of Music Director John Alston‘s portrait. The event was in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
After the unveiling Alston picked up the portrait, which had been placed on an easel facing the audience, turning the painting around to show to the children onstage. They erupted with exhuberant cheers and applause, delighting Alston, Shetterly and the audience. Go to 1/14/24 post on our Facebook page to see a video of the unveiling, including Alston’s thoughtful responses. “…with the right combination of love, humor and high expectations, all children – my children, your children, these children – will flourish.”
Shetterly shared another amusing story today. In a quiet moment after the unveiling, Alston noted that Shetterly had painted him wearing a shirt that he didn’t recognize. He thought it looked good on him, though, so he joked that he would be on the lookout for one in that color (deep bluish-purple).
The Chorus thrilled the packed audience with a broad range of choral pieces, from a thousand-year-old Gregorian chant to pop hits from various genres, closing with John Denver’s Country Roads. You can view the full concert on CCC’s Facebook page.
John Alston educated the audience with some historical notes about the founding of the Chorus, highlighting the growth of the program over the past 30 years. He emphasized the math program that Chorus members are enrolled in and their impressive academic achievements, reflected in test scores. “We are now mathematicians who sing.” Later, Shetterly commented that the concert was the most beautiful math he had ever heard.
Assistant Music Director Sean Tripline took the crowd back to January 1938, where the youth choir is performing at Martin Luther King, Sr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Because Martin Sr.’s wife was the choir director, Tripline suggests that young Martin was “voluntold” to sing in the choir. Tripline went on to emphasize the critical importance of developing vocal confidence at a young age. Brought up singing in the church choir, King developed the ability to effectively convey an “emotional intellegence” that changed the country.
Shetterly and AWTT were thrilled to share this MLK Day 2024 celebration with John Alston, his staff and the CCC and look forward to a fruitful partnership in the future.
Tune into the CCC’s spring concerts on May 18 and 19, 2024, featuring Motown’s Greatest Hits – backed by a string orchestra – streaming on YouTube and Facebook.