By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale will stage its annual concert on Sunday in Verizon Hall.

Jeffrey Smith, the choir’s artistic director and conductor, says the performance is a tribute to American freedom.

Smith says one piece chosen for the program is by classical composer William Grant Still, who’s known as the “dean of African-American composers from the early 20th century.”

Smith says the work is based on the civil rights movement at that time.

“What I love about the piece is, though it talks about all of the struggles and how there’s still a lot of work to be done, there’s a consistent hope there that this is America and we can do it,” said Smith. “We’ve gone through so much in the past but we can do this. We can get through, and that we just got to work together and listen and fight for it.”

Smith says the choir has been in rehearsals since January.

“Most of the music in this concert is new to the group, and there’s some music that’s fairly straightforward and easy, and then there’s other music that’s very complicated. For instance, a piece that Bobby McFerrin wrote, very intricate with lots of percussion and things as well,” Smith explained.

The program also will include a tribute to Native Americans with the performance of “Spirit of the Winding Water”

Smith says the choir will be accompanied by an instrumental ensemble of about a dozen local musicians featuring brass, percussion, woodwinds and a rhythm section.

Proceeds from the concert, which begins at 4 p.m. Sunday, will support the choir’s busy schedule of performances and travel.

More From CBS Philly

Latest Forecast
Weather App
Latest Videos

Watch & Listen LIVE