The College of Arts and Architecture

African American Music Festival: Essence of Joy with Rollo Dilworth

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Saturday, February 11, 2017 - 1:00pm
Worship Hall- Pasquerilla Spiritual Center - University Park, PA

Free admission

The Penn State School of Music's annual African American Music Festival concludes with a performance by Essence of Joy, featuring festival guest artist Rollo Dilworth, a faculty member at Temple University. In addition to a set of pieces composed by Professor Dilworth, the choir will also sing compositions by Moses Hogan, Harry T. Burleigh, and Sydney Guillaume.

The Penn State African American Music Festival celebrates the music of African Americans and African American composers. Typically occurring in February (Black History Month), the annual festival includes performances by Penn State faculty and students as well as guest artists. In February, 1995, Essence of Joy presented the first concert titled “Celebration of African American Spirituals,” and in 1997, Anthony Leach coordinated the first symposium on the African American Spiritual, involving guest artists, lectures, and choral performances. Since that time, the event has developed into a multi-day collaborative venture within the School of Music and beyond. In 2009, the name of the festival was changed to the "African American Music Festival" in order to be more inclusive of the variety of music offered by the performers. The festival is coordinated by faculty member Anthony Leach.

This concert is available on livestream at Penn State School of Music.all in logo

The African American Music Festival  is part of the 2016-17 initiative titled “All In at Penn State: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.”  This event is generously supported by the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC).


The Music of Moses Hogan

  • Hear My Prayer
  • I’m Gonna Sing 'Til the Spirit Moves in my Heart
  • I Want To Thank You, Lord
  • Let the Heaven Light Shine On Me
  • My Soul’s Been Anchored In the Lord

The Lord’s Prayer ♦ Harry T. Burleigh (Sarah Horner, conductor)

Yon Monn Nouvo (A World Anew) ♦ Sydney Guillaume

Sisi Kushangilia (We Will be Glad) ♦ arranged by Victor Johnson

The Music of Rollo Dilworth (Rollo Dilworth, conductor)

  • Invocation
  • The Gift To Be Simple, the Gift To Be Free
  • Oh! What a Beautiful City
  • Joshua 

The Light ♦ Glenn Burleigh

I Have No Doubt ♦ Christopher Watkins

Anticipation ♦ V. Michael McKay             

Rollo Dilworth serves as chair of music education and music therapy at Temple University. He holds degrees from Case Western Reserve University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Northwestern University. Rollo Dillworth

More than 150 of Rollo Dilworth's choral compositions and arrangements have been published—many of which are a part of the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Choral Series with Hal Leonard Corporation. Additional publications can be found in the catalogs of Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Colla Voce Music, Inc. Dilworth is a contributing author for the Essential Elements for Choir and the Experiencing Choral Music textbook series, both published by the Hal Leonard Corporation/Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Publications, and for Music Express! Magazine.  He has authored three books of choral warm up exercises intended for elementary and secondary choral ensembles, entitled Choir Builders: Fundamental Vocal Techniques for General and Classroom Use (2006); Choir Builders for Growing Voices (2009); and Choir Builders for Growing Voices 2 (2014).

A frequent presenter at local, state, regional and national conferences, Dilworth has conducted 43 all-state choirs at various levels (elementary, middle school, high school), and has conducted 6 regional honor choirs and 4 national honor choirs (ADCA, OAKE and NafME). He has most recently appeared as guest conductor for international choral festivals and master classes in Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Ireland, and China. For the 2015-2016 season, Dilworth was invited to conduct all-state choirs in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Arizona and Massachusetts. He has also conducted honor choirs for the Central and Southwest regions of the American Choral Directors Association. International festival and clinic invitations include Canada, Singapore, Austria and France.

Dilworth is currently national board chair for Chorus America. He is an active life member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He also holds memberships with several other organizations, including the National Association for Music Education (NafME), the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). 

Created in 1991, Essence of Joy sings sacred and secular music from the African and African American choral traditions. Annual University Park events include fall and spring concerts, as well as the "African American Music Festival" (February) and "Our Gift in Song" Essence of Joy(December). The choir also regularly collaborates with other Penn State ensembles, including a performance of the Leonard Bernstein Mass in 2013. Involving undergraduate and graduate students from all academic programs at Penn State, Essence of Joy has performed throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, and Illinois. The choir has been invited to perform for conferences of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (1995, 1997, 2003), the eastern division of the Music Educators National Conference (1997), the eastern division of the American Choral Directors Association (2002, 2006, 2014), the national American Choral Directors Association (1999, 2003, 2005, 2011), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (2000). In addition, they have presented concerts at the Schomburg Museum of Black American Culture in New York City (1998, 1999, 2001). The choir has released four compact discs: "The Soul and Spirit of Essence" (1998), "Essence 'Live'" (2000), "Lift Every Voice and Sing", and "The Light" (2003). The choir made its first European tour in 2001 with concert performances in Poland and the Czech Republic. Recent tours have taken Essence of Joy members to South Africa, Taiwan, Korea, Spain, and France.