Apollo’s Fire Program “Lift Ev’ry Voice” Looks at Black Contributions to Music

Apollo’s Fire, Cleveland’s Baroque Orchestra, is doing something a little different this summer, presenting a program called “Life Ev’ry Voice: A Celebration of Brotherhood and Sisterhood,” taking place mostly at the sort of venues they place during the year.

Apollo’s Fire founder/music director Jeannette Sorrell will be leading an evening featuring the ensemble, members of Apollo’s Singers and Apollo’s Musettes (its children’s vocal group), and five vocal soloists: sopranos Kristine Caswelch and Ashlee Foreman, countertenor Reggie Mobley, tenor Jacob Perry and bass Jonathan Woody.

The program comprises music across four centuries from 1622 to 2022, with a composition by Woody juxtaposed with music by Monteverdi, both pieces titled Nigra Sum (I Am Black and Beautiful), an 18th-century suite by Black composer Joseph Bolohne, spirituals from the Civil War era, and a second piece by Woody, commissioned by Apollo’s Fire, which will be premiering at these concerts. Titled Intent, it explores the legacy of neighborhood segregation. The program also includes readings from the diaries of abolitionist Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.

Apollo’s Fire will perform at the Arlington Church of God in Akron on Friday (where the church’s music leader and Minister of Praise Leslie Parker Barnes will join them as a special guest), Avon Lake’s United Church of Christ on Saturday and Cain Park’s Alma Amphitheater on Sunday. For tickets go to

“Together we are asking listeners to re-think their assumptions about the contributions of Black artists and intellectuals in our society,” says Sorrell. “I’m especially glad that we are collaborating with the wonderful Arlington Church of God in Akron.  As the Akron community grieves from the pain and trauma of the recent police killing of Jayland Walker, I hope that our concert will bring together people from all walks of life as we lift our voices in unity, brotherhood and sisterhood.”

For tickets, go to www.apollosfire.org. Tickets include a “listen at home” video option.

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