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This month we spotlight…
Dr. Herbert V.R.P. Jones, one of the nation’s foremost figures in choral conducting and pedagogy and an expert in the intersection between theology and musical expression. A Pittsburgh native, Dr. Jones has cultivated a broad-based, multifaceted career as a choral conductor, educator, operatic bass-baritone, liturgical dancer and pastor, teaching and performing across the United States and Europe. Dr. Jones holds numerous degrees: BS in Music, MS in Counseling Psychology, M.Mus., Choral Conducting/Music Education, M.Divinity (M.Div.), Sacred Music, Dance & Drama, and the D.A., Music, Choral Conducting & Choral Music Education. A licensed Minister of Music (Presbyterian and Baptist denominations), Dr. Jones is Administrative Assistant to the Academic Dean, Academic Division, of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc. (GMWA), and sits on the Boards of The Simmons Scholarship Foundation, Inc. (Columbus, OH), and the Afro American Music Institute (Pittsburgh, PA).
When I interviewed Dr. Jones, I could almost see the excitement on his face as he was talking about his love of music. By the time he was in second grade (age 7), he was already reading music. Most children that age have not grasped the concept of fractions, and he was reading music!
Some of the artist that have inspired him on his journey of music, were the late greats: Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland as well as Andre Crouch and Issac Douglass to name a few. However, he admits listening to a wide spectrum of music, because of the variety, there is much to be learned from all styles.
Dr. Jones has been the Director of PGC since it’s inception during the first half of 2008. The choir currently has a membership of 25, however, Dr. Jones is looking to grow this to approximately 50 members. This is Pittsburgh’s first choral ensemble dedicated to the American gospel music tradition. Formed as a project of the River City Brass Band, the PGC is intended to catalyze connections among participants of all races, ethnicities and ages while acting as a conduit for the preservation of the rich history of gospel music through its performances of both traditional and new works in the genre. During its 2008/09 Season, the PGC rehearses and performs at the historic East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh’s vibrant, diverse East End.
PGC will have their very first concert on November 15th at 4:00 PM in East Liberty at the Presbyterian Church located at: 116 S Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. This is a FREE CONCERT!!! There will be a love offering to help incur some of the expenses.
You don’t want to miss this concert! I have seen Dr. Jones in action, and let me tell you, he knows his stuff…He is AMAZING!!!
For information about upcoming performances, or to inquire about auditions, please contact: River City Brass Band office: 1-800-292-7222 ext. 105