Current Program

Benefit Concerts for Racial Understanding & Reconciliation
benefitting the Chicago Children’s Choir
*Saturday, June 4, 2016 8:00 PM
Luther Memorial Church, 2500 W Wilson, Chicago
*Sunday, June 5, 2016 4:00 PM
First Unitarian Church, 5650 S Woodlawn, Chicago

a celebration of hope and cooperation
I was fortunate to worship, study, and work with people of incredibly diverse backgrounds from a very young age. In addition, my family valued people not only despite their differences, but because of them. (We are bicultural, so this has always been very real to us.) So, as I look at current racial and ethnic tensions, which have been a part of our city’s history for as long as I can remember and beyond, I can’t help but wonder what I might do about it. Some of what I do is more private–I choose to live in a diverse neighborhood, and I choose to work with and befriend people who don’t look like me. Increasingly, however, I feel compelled to act in a more obvious and public way. It makes sense that I, as a musician, would choose to bring people together around music.

As you may have gathered by the title, we’ll be singing African American spirituals–for soloists, small ensembles, and full choir. The Spirituals are one of America’s greatest musical legacies. These songs call for action and for freedom from oppression; they also celebrate hope–both in this life and the next. Their message is very often affirming, which is quite remarkable given the compositional circumstances. “Walk Together” summarizes the purpose of the concert so well. We are all on a journey; we would do well to help each other as we reach for “that promised land where all is peace.”

-Benjamin Rivera

The net proceeds will go to the Chicago Children’s Choir.
“Serving more than 4,000 children annually, Chicago Children’s Choir empowers singers to bridge cultural divides and become ambassadors of peace in their communities. With programs in more than 70 Chicago schools, 9 after-school neighborhood programs, an ensemble for boys with changing voices and the internationally-acclaimed Voice of Chicago, the diversity of Chicago Children’s Choir reflects the cultural landscape of the city.”


Roll, Jordan, Roll, arr. Rollo Dilworth

I Want Jesus To Walk With Me, arr. Colin Lett
We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace, arr. Moses Hogan
Walk Together (There’s a Great Camp Meeting), traditional

My Lord, What a Mornin’, arr. Harry Burleigh
Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit, arr. William Dawson

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, arr. J. Rosamond Johnson
Tryin’ to Get Home, traditional
Steal Away, arr. Moses Hogan

Where the Sun Will Never Go Down, arr. Joseph Jennings


Go Down, Moses, arr. J. Rosamond Johnson
Ezekiel Saw de Wheel
, arr. Moses Hogan
Elijah Rock, arr. Jester Hairston
The Battle of Jericho, arr. Moses Hogan

I Can Tell the World, arr. Moses Hogan
Old Time Religion, arr. Moses Hogan
Ain’t Got Time To Die, Hall Johnson

Death Ain’t Nothin’ But a Robber, traditional
Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, arr. Tawn Thomas
By and By, arr. Carol Barnett
Since I Laid My Burdens Down, arr. Rollo Dilworth

Oh, Freedom, traditional