SLSO, IN UNISON Chorus to celebrate Black History Month with annual concert

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s (SLSO) IN UNISON Chorus announced it will be continuing its 25th anniversary season with the annual Lift Every Voice, Black History Month concert.

The concert is set to be held on Friday, February 22, 2019, at 7:30 pm.

Vocalists Jermaine Smith and Denise Thimes will be joining SLSO and IN UNISON Chorus under the direction of Kevin McBeth. The night of music will include gospel favorites, spirituals and songs from the 1959 film adaption of Porgy and Bess.

The concert will also have a performance of Gospel Mass, a composition by Dr. Robert Ray, the founding director of IN UNISON, as well as the premiere of “It’s Working,” an SLSO/IN UNISON Chorus commission by Kansas City composer Isaac Cates.

The IN UNISON Chorus specializes in the performance and preservation of music with African and African-American origins. According to a news release, IN UNISON Chorus has performed with the SLSO, as well as in local churches throughout the region, over the past 24 years.

The chorus was created in 1994 as part of the IN UNISON program, “a Monsanto-supported SLSO outreach program that connects the SLSO with the new audiences through African-American partner churches in the St. Louis region,” according to the release.

Since its debut, IN UNISON Chorus, which is composed of 125 singers from across the St. Louis region, has performed over 100 times, including twice-yearly with SLSO and the annual free, community concert.

Lift Every Voice: Black History Month Celebration details:
Friday, February 22, 2019, 7:30 pm
Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, Mo

Kevin McBeth, conductor
Jermaine Smith, vocals
Denise Thimes, vocals
St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus | Kevin McBeth, Director

Julius WILLIAMS The Legacy (Spiritual Medley)
Rollo DILWORTH Freedom’s Plow
GERSHWIN / arr. BENNET Porgy and Bess Selections
arr. BILLUPS “Every Time I Feel the Spirit”
Stephen FLAHERTY “Make Them Hear You”
arr. Adaron JACKSON “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”
Isaac CATES “It’s Working” (SLSO and IN UNISON Chorus commission)
arr. Roland CARTER “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
Robert RAY Gospel Mass

The February concert, supported by Monsanto Fund, is the second of three concerts during the IN UNISON Chorus’ 25th anniversary season. The annual free, community concert hosted by the chorus is scheduled for Friday, May 3, 2019, at Powell Hall.

Tickets for the February 22nd concert are now on sale. For more information about the concert and purchase tickets, visit