“Of all the ways revelers have noted the recent centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, it’s safe to say none has caught the spirit of the composer quite the way the Philadelphia Community Mass has,” writes Peter Dobrin in Sunday’s (4/7) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Inspired by the Bernstein Mass … the Philadelphia Community Mass debuted last summer… Saturday afternoon it received an encore … at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church…. The piece was commissioned by the Mann Center, the brainchild of its longtime artistic collaborator Nolan Williams Jr. … It has the bones of a Mass, but with its various movements divided among four different composers: Ruth Naomi Floyd, Jay Fluellen, Evelyn Simpson Curenton and Rollo Dilworth. It will be performed again June 24, though in another form. Williams is orchestrating four of its movements to be played by the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra before the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance of the Beethoven Symphony No. 9…. Williams on Saturday reminded the audience in this historic church that Bernstein’s Mass is about good people wondering how to hang on to faith in crazy times…. The Mann has grown beyond being just a venue in Fairmount Park, and is now as much an institution and facilitator of ideas.”

Posted April 11, 2019

In photo: Clayton Prince (center) performs the role of the Skeptic in the multi-composer “Philadelphia Community Mass” at Philadelphia’s Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, April 6, 2019. Photo by Yong Kim