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Operatic rising stars honor Marian Anderson and Jessye Norman

Created and directed by composer, conductor, multi-genre musician, and longtime friend of Washington Performing Arts Damien Sneed, along with co-presenter Coalition of African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA), Our Song, Our Story presents an ensemble of leading African American performing artists paying tribute to two of the most revered, ground-breaking, and ceiling-shattering African American artists of all time, opera singers Marian Anderson and Jessye Norman.

In a symbolic passing of the torch, Our Song, Our Story highlights stars of the opera world. Justin Austin has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal for his "mellifluous baritone." Lyric soprano Jacqueline Echols has been praised for her “dynamic range and vocal acrobatics” (Classical Voice) in theaters across the United States. They will perform both solo and duo works, with accompaniment by Sneed on piano and a quartet representing the prestigious Sphinx Organization.Encompassing operatic arias, art songs, and spirituals, the repertoire for this expansive evening includes works by prominent African American composers past and present—including Margaret Bonds, Harry T. Burleigh, Richard Smallwood, and Sneed (in a newly commissioned work)—plus works by Handel, Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, Richard Strauss, and Gershwin.

Co-presented with the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA)

Note: Justin Austin also appears on February 28 in Cotton. The Sphinx Organization’s Sphinx Symphony Orchestra appears January 31.

This performance is an external rental presented in coordination with the Kennedy Center Campus Rentals Office and is not produced by the Kennedy Center.

Washington Performing Arts’s classical music performances this season are made possible in part through the generous support of Betsy and Robert Feinberg.

Special thanks to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Mars

DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities

Accessibility:
Washington Performing Arts is committed to ensuring visitors of all abilities can experience the performances and programs we present. We partner with our venues to ensure accommodations are available. For specific questions about accessibility at our Kennedy Center events, please visit https://www.kennedy-center.org/visit/accessibility or contact us at patronservices@washingtonperformingarts.org.

COVID-19 Health and Safety:
As Washington Performing Arts does not own nor operate its own venue, Washington Performing Arts audiences are subject to the current vaccination and face mask policy of the venue on the date of the event. Please see venue specifics here.