Radford University choral groups to hold holiday benefit performances

Journey and Refuge information graphic

On November 30, 2018 at 7:30 p.m., faculty and students in Radford University’s Department of Music will hold a benefit concert in support of refugees in the New River Valley. The concert, titled “Journey and Refuge: We Can Mend the Sky,” will feature four ensembles: University Chorus, Chorale, Opera Workshop, and the Radford Singers.

The centerpiece of the show will be the classic, one-act opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” which tells the story of a poor, disabled boy and his mother who allow three travelers to stay overnight in their home. The visitors are kings traveling to bring gifts to the newborn Christ in Bethlehem. The story’s themes revolve around goodwill to others and how acts of charity and compassion often return in unexpected ways.

“Amahl and the Night Visitors asks a lot of hard questions about how we share resources with those in need,” said Dr. Marlayna Maynard, Instructor with the Department of Music. “In our time, those questions are especially relevant to the issue of refugee resettlement. Working with the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership helps us to have an impact locally in the context of a global issue.”

“Journey and Refuge” will be filled with music that speaks to the refugee experience, including, “We Can Mend the Sky,” written by composer Jake Runestad using texts from a 14-year-old Somali refugee along with two Somali proverbs. Dr. Meredith Bowen, Assistant Professor and Director of Choral Activities at Radford University, described the piece as, “… a call to action to help our neighbors who are seeking a better world.” Her musical choices for the concert revolve around themes of relocation and searching for a better life. Songs such as “Wayfaring Stranger,” an Appalachian folk song about escaping the toils of sickness and danger, and “Keep Your Lamps,” an African American spiritual piece about the underground railroad, will be performed during the event.

The concert will raise funds for the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership, an organization that works to help refugees from war-torn parts of the world resettle in the New River Valley. “Initially, we welcomed these families by providing housing, food, and translation services. We assisted children in getting started in school, and adults with finding employment. Lots of volunteers stepped up to drive people to medical appointments and soccer practice. The refugee families are working toward independence. Donations like those collected at the concert will directly support these families as they acclimate to life in America,” said Molly McClintock, a board member with the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership. 

Calvary Bapist Church in Roanoke, Virginia
A second performance will be held Sunday December 2, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia.

“Journey and Refuge: We Can Mend the Sky” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on November 30, 2018 at the Davis Performance Hall in the Covington Center on the campus of Radford University. A light reception will be held in the Scartelli Atrium beginning at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students. Tickets will go on sale three weeks prior to the event at www.radfordactivities.com

The concert will be performed again on December 2, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia. Admission to the Roanoke performance will be free and donations are encouraged.

Oct 31, 2018
Jason S. Hutchens, Ed.D.