Lifting Every Voice

Emory welcomes the Atlanta Music Festival

Laquita Mitchell
Matthu Placek

The legendary Atlanta Music Festival, which first came to Emory in 2011, returns September 18 to 21.

The festival took shape in 1910, when African American minister Henry Hugh Proctor put forward a then-daring idea: racial harmony through appreciation of music.

At the time, members of Atlanta’s First Congregational Church weren’t admitted to Metropolitan Opera performances because of their race. Proctor’s response was to create the Atlanta Colored Music Festival, featuring the most prominent African American concert artists of the day. Organizers invited the white community—and they came.

More than a century later, the mission of the Atlanta Music Festival still fulfills Proctor’s vision—affirming contributions of African Americans to arts and culture and deepening understanding of what it means to be American.

Raising the roof will be acclaimed soprano Laquita Mitchell; joining her will be Atlanta tenor Timothy B. Miller, the Morehouse College Glee Club, the First Congregational Chancel Choir, the Vega String Quartet, the Meridian Chorale directed by Steven Darsey, and Emory’s own Dwight Andrews.

New this year was a music conservatory camp for school children in July, which Emory’s Center for Community Partnerships helped to organize through its Graduation Generation program, launched in July 2010 with a gift from trustee Rick Rieder 83B. The 2013 festival also will include vocal workshops for young singers led by Mitchell, panel discussions on African American literature and musical composition, a performance by the conservatory participants, and a culminating gala concert.

See the Atlanta Music Festival website for schedule and ticket information.

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