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I Am a Man

Performance Information

Drawing on the combined vocal artistry of 100 men of the Washington Performing Arts and Alfred Street Baptist Church Choirs and other choirs throughout the DMV, conducted by Theodore Thorpe III—plus renowned special guests like composer and conductor Darin Atwater, acclaimed operatic tenor Issachah Savage, hip-hop innovator Konshens the MC, and virtuoso pianist Joseph Joubert, plus a full orchestra including members of 2019/20 WPA Ensemble-in-Residence The String Queens—I Am a Man bears witness to the violence against African American men and celebrates the ongoing achievements of African American men that inspire our admiration and enrich our community.

At the heart of I Am a Man is Atlanta-based composer Joel Thompson’s oratorio The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, inspired by the last words of seven African American men who died tragically: Michael Brown, Kenneth Chamberlain, John Crawford, Amadou Diallo, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, and Trayvon Martin. The program also includes an excerpt from Darin Atwater’s Evolution of a People and songs of uplift including “Glory” from the film Selma and “Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing,” often called the “Black National Anthem.”

Co-presented with Alfred Street Baptist Church

Preview the I Am a Man concert “welcome” letter by Raynetta Wiggins-Jackson (WPA Manager of Choir Curriculum & Performance)


This performance is made possible in part through the generous support of Encompass Supply/Rudy Burwell and Mona Mohib; Pepco, An Exelon Company; and Trista L.P. Colbert and Theodore Colbert. Additional support is provided by friends and family of Jenny Bilfield. 

Gospel music programs at Washington Performing Arts are made possible in part by the Beech Street Foundation and Mr. Jeffrey Bauman and Ms. Linda Fienberg, Hubert “Hank” Schlosberg and the Schlosberg Family, Trista L.P. Colbert and Theodore Colbert, Nationwide, Bruce Rosenblum and Lori Laitman, and Pepco, An Exelon Company.