Girls Choir of Harlem to Make its Western New York Debut with a Special Holiday Performance

By David Wedekindt

Release Date: November 24, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Center for the Arts at the University at Buffalo will present the Girls Choir of Harlem at 2 p.m. on Dec. 13 in the Mainstage theater located in the Center for the Arts on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

The 50-voice performing choir representing the Girls Choir of Harlem made its Lincoln Center debut at Alice Tully Hall in November 1997 to enthusiastic critical acclaim under the direction of Lorna Myers. The Girls Choir of Harlem is the female counterpart to the Boys Choir and its performances consist of an intricate repertoire of classical, spiritual and pop music for audiences around the country. The choir's performance at the center also will feature holiday music.

The performers all attend the Choir Academy of Harlem, where they attend three hours of rehearsals per day, as well as a full academic curriculum, interspersed with artistic classes in music theory, voice, movement, hand bells, piano and Orff percussion. This fully rounded program is designed to develop the child as a whole. This includes transforming their lives through the arts, building self-esteem, becoming more positive role models, experiencing the rewards of creativity, broadening their horizons through extensive travel and developing a strong value system of discipline, integrity and hard work.

The Girls Choir of Harlem has been featured in programs such as "60 Minutes," the front page of The New York Times, "Good Morning America" and Oprah's Angel Network. The Girls Choir frequently makes appearances at colleges and universities, and has been featured at prominent affairs honoring numerous leaders. On Sept. 23, 2001, the Girls Choir of Harlem was among the performers at the "Prayer for America," a live worldwide broadcast in memory of those who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In May 2002, the Girls Choir's 10-day, seven-city tour of California garnered standing ovations and the observation from the Marin Independent Journal that "the evening turned out like a major cultural event, a night that celebrated diversity...a consummate production worthy of any professional troupe."

The Girls Choir of Harlem now is under the direction of Pricilla Baskerville, a versatile dramatic soprano who has appeared in leading opera houses in Northern America, including the Metropolitan Opera, where she has performed the title roles in Verdi's "Aida," Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" and Mussetta in Puccini's "La Bohome." Baskerville has also performed numerous concerts with the Napa Valley Symphony, Carnegie Hall's Harlem Renaissance Jazz Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and the Skitch Henderson Orchestra. She can also be heard on the original cast recordings of Broadway's "Sophisticated Ladies," Davis' "The Life and Times of Malcolm X" and "The Cotton Club" movie soundtrack. In addition to her thriving career, Baskerville also teaches in the New York public school system.

Tickets for the Girls Choir of Harlem are $25, $20, $15 and $10 for children ages 12 & under. Tickets are available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Center for the Arts box office and all Ticketmaster locations, including Kaufmann's. To charge tickets call 852-5000; in Canada, call 1-416-870-8000. For group sales, call 645-6771.For more information call 645-ARTS. The Center for the Arts is a TicketFast location.