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New Arts Six Repertoire

Each performance of New Arts Six is an original production utilizing Spirituals to musically record a page in history or folk tradition. The repertoire is drawn from a thoroughly researched library of Spirituals and authentic period costumes reflecting the mood of the music and era.

The Repertoire:

  • Reflects the African-American musical heritage with original works including A Joyful Noise, Black Diva, and The Whosoever Will Prayer Band.
  • Features a unique blend of vocal music in the classical operatic and the folk traditional style, as well as an engaging theatrical experience.
  • Includes well-known Spirituals such as Motherless Child, Jacob’s Ladder, and This Little Light of Mine. One will also hear chants, haunting melodic excerpts, music of the Freedom Movement, and original arrangements that are not as familiar.
  • Also includes the poetry & prose of prolific African-American writers & poets including Paul Lawrence Dunbar.


A JOYFUL NOISE

Imagine a summer picnic at the turn of the century and six African-American women recounting joys and sorrows through songs, Spirituals and the poignant poetry of Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Among the more than 20 Spirituals in this production are Joshua Fir de Battle of Jericho, Ezekiel Saw the Wheel, and Let Us Break Bread. The late Rudy Eastman, founder of the Ft. Worth Jubilee Theater, conceived this work and it has become the most requested piece in the repertoire. A Joyful Noise is a period performance piece with elements of theatre, music, and literature. Dallas Morning News writer Shermakaye Bass described it as “a combined mood of a girls’ day out with the fervor of a small-town tent revival. There were wet eyes after particularly moving versions of This Little of Light of Mine and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”


BLACK DIVA
(90 minutes)

In this two-act biographical opera-drama, Black Diva explores the achievements of African-American opera singer Sissieretta Jones, a star among stars from 1892 through 1910. At that time, black female singers were an exotic curiosity. They sang in concerts, minstrel, and vaudeville shows. They sang wherever they could. Share the struggles and achievements of Sissieretta Jones as she overcomes artistic, social, and racial barriers. Hear Donizetti’s aria Ciasun Lo Dice from the La Fille Du Regiment (Daughter of the Regiment), Bizet’s mezzo aria Habanera from Carmen, and Mascagni’s soprano aria Voi La Sapete from Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry). The unique combination of the aforementioned operatic arias with spirituals such as Rock’A My Soul and Motherless Child make Black Diva a truly beautiful and moving experience. Rudy Eastman was commissioned by New Arts Six to create a stage adaptation of the story of Sisserietta Jones’ life and career as excerpted from the book And So I Sing, by Dallas author/journalist/musician Rosalyn M. Story.

THE WHOSOEVER WILL…PRAYER BAND
(90 minutes)

Welcome to the monthly meeting of the Whosoever Will Prayer Band. Set in a small southern town, the year, 1938, on a typical Wednesday evening. The church sisters are gathering for the sole purpose of prayer and praise but events veer from the original intent of the meeting. Hear familiar music such as lining of hymns, and from the gospel pearls Ol’ Time Religion, I Shall Not be Moved, Meeting on the Ol’ Campground, and Jesus is on the Main Line to name a few. This is a lighthearted, funny and poignant slice of life that we can all identify with if only we imagine our grandmothers chatting about the ‘goings on’ in their small town. Each sister’s character flaws clearly shine through as they share all the juicy local gossip with their friends.

AS GUEST ARTISTS with
SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND/OR CHORUS

New Arts Six successfully performs with symphony orchestras and choruses. For choruses, the ensemble performs with the existing arrangements using the soloist role as their voice. For every performance, New Arts Six adapts and brings their unique style of opera-based Spirituals to audiences.