The Penn State School of Music's annual African American Music Festival continues with performances by University Choir and Essence of Joy during the School of Music's weekly Common Hour. In addition to performing individually, the choirs will join together for a set of three compositions conducted by festival guest artist Rollo Dilworth, a faculty member at Temple University. Lauren Kooistra assists as collaborative pianist.
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.
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).
Penn State University Choir, conducted by Steven Hankle
- Ride On King Jesus ♦ arranged by Moses Hogan
- See Dat Babe ♦ arranged by Stacey Gibbs
Essence of Joy, conducted by Anthony Leach
- Hear My Prayer ♦ Moses Hogan
- Yon Monn Nouvo (A World Anew) ♦ Sidney Guillaume
- Glory (from Selma) ♦ Lonnie Lynn, Che Smith, and John Stephens
- America the Beautiful ♦ arr. Anthony Leach
Combined Choirs, conducted by Rollo Dilworth
- The Word Was God ♦ Rosephanye Powell
- I Dream a World ♦ Andre Thomas
- Take Me To the Water ♦ Rollo Dilworth
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.
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).