634 N. Grand BlvdThe St. Louis African Chorus is a 501(c)(3), non-profit arts organization with a focus to foster a better understanding of Africa’s rich cultural heritage through music and other art forms. It is the first organization in the world that is fully dedicated to producing and presenting music in original African languages (outside of Africa, of course!). The St. Louis African Chorus is supported financially through concert revenue and individual contributions. Additional support comes from the Missouri Arts Council, Regional Arts Commission, Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and from corporate sponsorship.
St. Louis, MO
fax: (314) 652-6444
Programs and activities are open to people of all ages, racial, ethnic, and religious background, who desire an unbiased knowledge of Africa’s cultural heritage through the arts. Performing membership is strictly by auditions. Non-performing membership also exists for persons interested in joining our growing number of volunteers, patrons, and friends.
The St. Louis African Chorus has quickly filled a major niche and earned tremendous stature within the St. Louis arts community, and beyond. It was voted BEST CHORUS in the the Riverfront Times’ Best of 2000 poll, and recently received the 2001 Missouri Arts Award, the state’s highest honor to “institutions that have made profound and lasting impact on the artistic and the cultural landscape of Missouri.” On April 1, the Chorus took its place in history by successfully hosting the world’s greats at the landmark Festival of African & African-American Music (FESAAM 2001). The Chorus toured Brazil to acclaim, 2000, receiving numerous honors, and a rare feature on GLOBO TV, Brazil’s national television, at primetime. Earlier, in June of 1998, it made history in Ghana, as the “first tour to Africa by a foreign group with a fully-develped repertoire of African music.” SLAC’s two CDs, Live at the Sheldon, and AENaO: The Sacred Music of Ikoli Harcourt-Whyte, have both received rave reviews from local and national media.
CONCERTS & PROGRAMS
Past productions include The Initiation, an operetta (July 1996); African Music Conference (October 1998); Hewale! Ceremonial Drums of Ghana (July 1999);Eritrea: In Song and Dance (October 1999, which aired to great acclaim on Eritrean national TV); Popular Songs of South Africa (November 1999); A E Na O: The Sacred Music of Harcourt-Whyte (Feb. & March 2000); Akin Euba’s CHAKA, an Opera in Two Chants (May 2000); A Cappella Africa: Chants & Responsorial(November 2000), and the Festival of African & African American Music (FESAAM 2001, March 2001).
YOUTH EDUCATION & OUTREACH
Our main thrust this season is the choral program at the Loyola Academy of St. Louis, a new middle-school for boys. A choir of 36 students meets weekday afternoons for vocal training and to develop a diverse repertoire of classical music through Jazz and world music. The African Music for Community Healing® project continues with mini-concerts given in retirement homes and other assisted-living facilities.
Chris King writes in the Riverfront Times of October 8, 1997: “Thanks to [the St. Louis African Chorus], we have here a local window on another world, an exciting and vast place” Michael Renner adds in his St. Louis Post Dispatch review of September 26, 1997: “Listening to both singers and drummers interact, we witnessed the origins of the call and response tradition used in jazz, blues and earlier, slave chants…” Gary Scott, reviewing the CHAKA opera on KDHX Radio, said: “… this production was a work of bi-racial harmony and, perhaps in a strange way, healing. We saw on stage that our histories are now inextricably combined…”
Fred Onovwerosuoke (“Fred O”)
Founder & Artistic DirectorVisit the homepage to learn about upcoming events, and to see how you can support the St. Louis African Chorus, as well as receiving a subscription to the quarterly journal, The Voice of African Music.