The incredible musical team of Tenor Stephen J. Easterling and Pianist Jeff Richards can be heard in an hour-long special recital on Saturday, November 17 starting at 7:00 p.m. in the beautiful, historic Wilson Center Auditorium.
“These two local performers are both exceptional musicians,” explains Bill Tennant, concert coordinator. “They’ve performed at the Performance Shell and gave a wonderful recital last year at this time that everyone thoroughly enjoyed!”
Easterling, a choir teacher in the Laingsburg School District, has been performing as a vocalist throughout Michigan for several years. He is also the director of the Laingsburg Community Singers.
Richards, Music Director of St. Joseph Parish and a St. Johns High School graduate, spent his career in Chicago accompanying shows and artists, and will provide the accompaniment.
This year’s recital will focus on African-American spirituals – religious folksongs that closely associate with the enslavement of African people in the American South. “There is a wealth of wonderful music coming from this period, which includes the last few decades of the eighteenth century, leading up to the abolishment of slavery in the 1860s,” states Easterling. “The American spiritual constitutes one of the largest and most significant forms of American folksong.” Other works on the recital include some of Aaron Copland’s wonderful American Songs.
A free will offering will be taken with all the proceeds going to the Wilson Center Auditorium renovation project as the committee raises funds for a new lighting system. A dessert reception will follow the program.
The Wilson Center Auditorium is located at 101 W. Cass St. in downtown St. Johns, just south of the Courthouse.