Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Premiere of Can You Hear God Crying? Rescheduled to 2012 Opening Weekend at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

FEBRUARY 2, 2012

Presenting Partners the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Art Sanctuary,

Dirk Brossé and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Enon Tabernacle Mass Choir, the Music Liberation Orchestra, and composer Hannibal Lokumbe, Announce September 21, 2012, as New Performance Date

 

After performing excerpts of Can You Hear God Crying? in several community settings, this stirring presentation is set to premiere in its entirety at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts on Friday, September 21, 2012 at 8 p.m. in Verizon Hall, rescheduled from its original December 13, 2011.

 

“We are so delighted to bring the full-length version of Can You Hear God Crying? as a Kimmel Center Presents season opener,” said Anne Ewers, Kimmel Center president and CEO. 

 

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Art Sanctuary, Dirk Brossé and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Enon Tabernacle Mass Choir, the Music Liberation Orchestra, and Can You Hear God Crying? composer Hannibal Lokumbe delayed the premiere which was originally scheduled for December 13, 2011.  After rescheduling to June and then to September, partners admitted scheduling efforts were a challenge.  The June date coincided with Juneteenth--a celebration commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation which declared the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million enslaved Africans--however, some key musicians discovered scheduling conflicts would prohibit the performance. 

 

In light of the postponement, Art Sanctuary continued with its original plan to sponsor affordable, shorter performances of Can You Hear God Crying?  to increase the show’s reach and impact. The shorter version of the program which features students from Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Camden Creative Arts High School debuted in a matinee performance for students at the Kimmel Center on December 13, 2011, in Verizon Hall.  Other performances took place at Freedom Theater, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, and in an area prison.

 

“We’ve had a wonderful opportunity performing excerpts of Can You Hear God Crying? in community settings around the city. The response has been amazing and humbling.  We’re incorporating what we’ve learned from performing the shorter, community piece into the longer format ensuring that all who see it walk away with filled hearts and nourished souls,” says composer Hannibal Lokumbe.

At the core of Can You Hear God Crying? is the Door of No Return, through which millions of enslaved Africans came to the United States. Through the fusion of West African prayers, songs and rhythms expressed through gospel, jazz, soaring choral and chamber music, a soprano deity sings strength to her people: in slave ships, in jails—and trapped in the prisons of fear into which mankind locks itself. At one point in Can You Hear God Crying?, the soprano deity and choir recreate the Middle Passage simulating the cries of kidnapped Africans as they endure the horrid journey into slavery. For anyone who has ever closed the door to wholeness, Lokumbe's music will open the heart.

Tickets for the September 21, 2012, 8 p.m. performance of Can You Hear God Crying? are currently available for purchase. Tickets for the originally scheduled December 13, 2011 performance will be honored on September 21, 2012.  For more information, please contact the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts at kimmelcenter.org or Ticket Philadelphia at (215) 893-1999.

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Kimmel Center, Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit organization, owns, manages, supports and maintains The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, Innovation Studio and the Merck Arts Education Center. Kimmel Center, Inc. also manages the Academy of Music, owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and the University of the Arts Merriam Theater. Kimmel Center, Inc.’s mission is to operate a world class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience which includes providing arts in education, community outreach and a rich diversity of programming. The 2011/2012 season is sponsored by Citi. For additional information, visit kimmelcenter.org.

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