On Saturday, April 9, Peabody Conservatory students will perform with gospel choirs of Ark Church and New Shiloh Baptist Church in the culmination of a semester-long course at Peabody, the African-American Gospel Tradition in Baltimore taught by musicology faculty member Andrew Talle. In its second year, the course is designed to explore the phenomenally successful pedagogical techniques gospel musicians have developed to train young talent. Fourteen Peabody students have learned about the gospel tradition through written texts, guest lectures, and visits to the churches.
“Peabody is not very far from these churches geographically, but there’s still a cultural divide,” says Dr. Talle, who created the course. “These two realms of classical and gospel music have traditionally been quite separate, and, by bringing them together, I hope my students will be able experience this music, and, in a sense, we’re able to step into each other’s lives and see where the commonalities are.”
Both churches are a 10-minute drive from Peabody’s Mount Vernon campus: the Ark Church is in East Baltimore’s Oliver neighborhood, and New Shiloh Baptist Church is in the Mondawmin neighborhood. Ark Church Minister of Music Marcus D. Smith, “When it all comes together, it’s actually beautiful music to the point that it’s rhythmic, soulful, uplifting, and very encouraging so that it touches the soul and touches the heart.”
The free gospel concert – featuring the Divine Voices of Praise from Ark Church, led by Mr. Smith, and the Sanctuary Choir from New Shiloh Baptist Church, led by Worship Music Consultant W. Patrick Alston Sr. – will begin at 5:00 pm on Saturday, April 9, in Peabody’s Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall. Visit www.peabody.jhu.edu for more information or see a Hopkins video featuring the course.