The Discovery Orchestra’s George Marriner Maull and dancers from The Newark School of the Arts will guide the audience through a performance of African American plantation folk dance in “Discovering Juba Dance.”

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ, January 25, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — The New Jersey Youth Symphony returns to the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton on Saturday, February 4 at 7:00 p.m. to celebrate Black History Month with a dynamic educational program that will explore the vast and vivacious culture of African legacy in America through a captivating blend of music, oration, and dance. The Discovery Orchestra’s George Marriner Maull and dancers from The Newark School of the Arts will guide the audience through a performance of African American plantation folk dance dating from 19th century African slave communities in “Discovering Juba Dance.” The award-winning NJYS Youth Symphony led by Artistic Director Helen H. Cha-Pyo will perform works by Omar Thomas, Florence Price, and Dvořák’s beloved Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”

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The New Jersey Youth Symphony commissioned Maurice Chestnut to choreograph Price’s Juba Dance specially for this concert and partnered with the Newark School of the Arts (NSA), where five tap dance students are learning the dance from Chestnut, an alumnus of their program. Omar Thomas’ work, Of Our New Day Begun, is dedicated to honor the nine victims and families of the 2015 terrorist attack on the Emanuel A.M.E Church in Charleston, SC. Among those who were killed was the senior pastor and former state senator, Clementa C. Pinckney.

“As we honor Black History Month and celebrate Black Excellence, I am thrilled about our collaboration with Maurice Chestnut and the dancers from the Newark School of the Arts and Maestro George Marriner Maull of The Discovery Orchestra,” said Cha-Pyo. “We will delve into the significance of Florence Price’s Juba Dance and immerse ourselves in the rich tradition of African American music and its influence on classical composers such as Antonin Dvořák. Additionally, we are honored to present Of Our New Day Begun by the award-winning composer, Omar Thomas. This powerful piece not only boasts a fabulous score, but also holds great relevance in the current moment in our history.”

Wharton Arts’ mission is to offer accessible, high quality performing arts education that sparks personal growth and builds inclusive communities.

Wharton Arts’ vision is for a transformative performing arts education in an inclusive community to be accessible for everyone.

Wharton Arts is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving nearly 2,000 students through a range of classes and ensembles. The 5 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Chorus, an auditioned choral ensemble program for students in grades 3–12, encourage a love and appreciation of choral music while nurturing personal growth and creative development. The 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve over 500 students in grades 3–12 by audition, inspire young people to achieve musical excellence through high-level ensemble training and performance opportunities. Based in Paterson, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of Wharton Arts that uses music education as a vehicle for social action by empowering and inspiring young people to achieve their full potential through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. From Pathways classes for young children to Lifelong Learning programs for adults, the Wharton Performing Arts School has a robust musical theater and drama program and offers both private and group classes for instruments and voice for all ages and all abilities. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and that performing arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton Arts offers need-based scholarships.

Wharton Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 12 counties. All of Wharton Arts’ extraordinary teaching artists, faculty members, and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.

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