September 15, 2020
This month, FWO will present the digital debut of the Fort Worth Opera Chorus, with a stunning performance of 20th-century choral icon Moses Hogan’s His Light Still Shines. Commissioned by the Choral Arts Society of Washington in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Moses Hogan’s stirring work premiered in 2002 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In the wake of the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, coupled with fierce discussions on racial injustice, police brutality, and the ever-expanding wave of Black Lives Matter protests, this moving, fifteen-minute choral medley is now more resonant than ever before.
Under the baton of FWO’s brilliant Chorus Master Alfrelynn Roberts, thirty-nine singers and eight speakers will bring Hogan’s vision to life, as three spirituals (“Done Made My Vow," “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” and “Hold Out Your Light”) are interwoven with his original music (“His Light Still Shines,” “A Song of Reflection”), and inspiring spoken word passages. Fort Worth Opera is taking this moment to raise our collective voices to demand accountability, transparency, equality, and inclusion. “His Light Still Shines” is just the beginning. We will continue to dedicate our creative resources to doing what the arts do best – break down barriers, foster open dialogue, and celebrate our shared humanity.
MOSES HOGAN BIO
Moses George Hogan was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 13, 1957, and manifested his musical talent at a young age. As a boy, he anticipated the sound of church bells and guided his uncle Edwin Hogan’s choir by waving his hands as they sang. He was a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and he also studied at New York’s Juilliard School of Music and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Throughout his life, he created a number of new original arrangements of classic spirituals, formed several celebrated choirs such as the Moses Hogan Singers and the Moses Hogan Chorale, and served as editor of the Oxford Book of Spirituals.
Hogan is still considered the world’s greatest arranger of spiritual music, and he wrote over 70 unique and influential choral pieces until his death in 2003 at the age of 45. His contemporary settings of spirituals, original compositions, and other works have been admired by audiences and commended by critics worldwide. Today, his arrangements are still being used as the foundation for high school, college and university choirs across the United States.
ALFRELYNN J. ROBERTS BIO
ALFRELYNN J. ROBERTS
Alfrelynn is a versatile performer, choral director, and vocal coach whose work includes stage, television and film. Since 2019, she has been the Chorus Master for Fort Worth Opera and concluded her first season to rave reviews for the choruses in Hansel & Gretel, the Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, and the world premiere of Rachel Peters’ Companionship. She has served as the Artistic Director for the South Dallas Concert Choir for the last four seasons and conducted the choir for AT&T Performing Arts' production of the Underground Railroad featuring Kathleen Battle. Ms. Roberts is also the vocal and choral coach for five high schools in Dallas ISD.
Alfrelynn has performed for Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as Prather Entertainment Group, What a Do, Farmer's Alley and Kalamazoo Civic Theaters. She was the featured soloist at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton and a commencement address featuring President Barack Obama.
"Singing with Moses Hogan was truly a highlight of my career. When I first performed His Light Still Shines with the Moses Hogan Singers, I was gripped by a text that challenged the decency of a just America…concepts poignant then and definitely now. Moses reminded us about the tenets of a decent society through his glorious work. In our new digital world, the Fort Worth Opera Chorus ably lends their talent to this amazing project…‘singing’ life into this changing world!"
Charlene Lotz has been an active performer since her debut solo recital at the Fourth Bela Bartok International Piano Festival in Lima, Peru at the age of 14. She has played both solo recitals and concerto performances in the United States, South America, and Europe, and is highly sought-after as a collaborator. In 2019, Charlene was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Texas Christian University, studying with John Owings.
Sheran Goodspeed Keyton
Manager of Education and Community Engagement | FWO
Artistic Director | FWO
Chorister | FWO
Chorister | FWO
Chorister | FWO
Arts Advocate | FWO
Board Chair | FWO
Alfrelynn J. Roberts
Chorister | FWO
FORT WORTH OPERA CHORUS
Rachael Maura Fant
Mudibu Rita Nsumbu
Malcolm Payne Jr.