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Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers: Press

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers of Los Angeles
Celebrate 40 Years in Music

LOS ANGELES, California (September 30, 2009) - The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers of Los Angeles, presented by the St. Bernadette Catholic Church, will be in concert on November 1, 2009, at 4:00 p.m., 3825 Don Felipe Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90008.

This prestigious choral ensemble has garnered international acclaim through their performances of Spirituals, black musical theater, a cappella and choral music and folk music from the "African-American" experience. This year celebrating their 40th anniversary they'll perform a program of soulful a cappella spirituals, secular songs, and powerfully choreographed Broadway favorites, as well as Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass, with jazz trio.

In 1968, the Singers undertook their first European tour. Today, after 18 sold-out European tours, 12 tours of the US and Canada, tours of the Middle and Far East, Africa and South America, being featured at the International Choral Festival in Taipei, Taiwan and representing the US State Department’s Cultural Exchange program for three years they are among the most honored singing ensembles in the world. The Jubilee Singers have traveled to over 70 countries and have performed with the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Dale Warland Singers.

“The “spiritual” could have no better ambassador than this group”, says the Santa Clarita Valley Signal. The L.A. Times comments, “It doesn't take strict concentration to appreciate the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers. Bring them your tired, your dyspeptic, your uninterested and this group will know how to grab a few lapels.”

Concert spirituals were made famous in the 1870s by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a group of recently freed slaves studying at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, who brought the traditional spiritual to the concert stage. Contemporary arrangers are continuing to breathe new life into the form with new versions of these beloved African-American classics.

Founder-Director Albert McNeil is well known to the national choral community, having been honored on four occasions with "Command Performances". The choir was heard via National Public Radio in the series "Beverly Sills Presents", a live two hour broadcast and on the Smithsonian's 26 week series "Wade in the Water". They have appeared at Washington’s Kennedy Center, New York’s Carnegie Hall and have given 2 sold-out performances at San Francisco’s Davis Symphony Hall, in 2006 and 2007. They most recently performed at the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic and The Kulltureise in Zurich. They have been presented 2006 - 2008 on the Emmy-nominated LA Holiday Celebration telecast on Christmas Eve.

Albert McNeil is Professor Emeritus of Music, the University of California at Davis, where he was Director of choral activities for 21 years and headed the Music Education program. He taught courses in ethnomusicology at the University of Southern California for 12 years. He began his teaching career as a teacher of music in the elementary, junior and senior high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Purchase your tickets and come celebrate 40 years of making wonderful music all over the world with The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers of Los Angeles. General Admission ticket donations are $20 and $50 for Limited Preferred Seating. Tickets can be conveniently purchased online by visiting www.amjs.org, at the St. Bernadette Church-(323) 293-4877 or by contacting AMJS at (323) 375-9068.

Contact:
Mary Flowers, Operations Manager
amjsmgr@yahoo.com
(323) 375-9068

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AMJS - In house (Sep 30, 2009)
MUSIC REVIEW - Body and Soul by Jubilee Singers
By DONNA PERLMUTTER|April 24, 1993

It doesn't take strict concentration to appreciate the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers. Bring them your tired, your dyspeptic, your uninterested and this group will know how to grab a few lapels.

At least that was the impression Wednesday at Ambassador Auditorium when the 24-year-old ensemble held forth in a program of classic spirituals, contemporary African and African-American gospel and folk songs and Black Theatre material, courtesy of Duke Ellington and George Gershwin.

So what is it that wows the crowd? Not massed voices perfectly blended and balanced and applied to multi-part singing. Not rousing gospels. Not magnificent soloists--although there certainly were no deficits in these departments. The answer is showmanship. What the group boasts in excelsius is a body-and-soul delivery, no matter the musical category.

The Jubilee Singers dance and gesture and enact and physically dramatize. In the spirituals, all of them done a cappella, each soloist became an entertainer. Elsewhere, there was ensemble choreography. Always the manner was as important as the music and, in some cases, more so.

Among the highlights was "Hareje," a Zulu song that sounded close harmonies through wonderfully reedy voices. This, and "Tataleo," a number from Ghana, had choreography that suggested a boisterously good-natured, even humorous, community.

But the pop gospel numbers did not invariably match the quality one hears on the radio dial, even with the use of amplification. The individual voices also sometimes had difficulty negotiating the high notes improvised around the melodies.

Nor did all the Ellington and Gershwin make a stellar impact, although such numbers as "Take the A Train" and "Sophisticated Lady" came across more than respectably.

A standing ovation went, deservedly, to Muriel Bennett, who sang "My Man's Gone Now" from "Porgy and Bess." Her soprano, a fully operatic instrument of considerable size and beauty, needs only a little more control to qualify as an important voice.

Michael Smith, together with Victoria Burnett, also distinguished himself in "Bess, You Is My Woman Now." Byron J. Smith provided piano accompaniments and Albert McNeil directed most of the a cappella numbers.
Donna Perlmutter - LA Times