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Recital Preview Print

Holiday Concert in Honor of The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. James Longmire Pays Tribute to the Memory and Art of Paul Robeson

Susan Timmons and James Longmire

Event  Information

Raleigh -- ( Sun., Jan. 15, 2012 )

"The Music of Paul Robeson"
Performed by James Longmire, bass-baritone, & Susan Timmons, piano
Free, donations. -- St. Michael's Episcopal Church , 919-875-1142 -- 4:00 PM

January 15, 2012 - Raleigh, NC:

This preview has been provided by The Katherine Posner Vocal Studio.

Dr. James Longmire, accompanied by Ms. Susan Timmons, presents an afternoon of the music of Paul Robeson at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Raleigh.  The 4:00 p.m. performance will support The Nets for Life campaign through the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. A single net can provide protection for three people from mosquitoes and the malaria resulting from mosquito bites during the night.

Paul Robeson

Son of an escaped slave,Paul Robeson(1898-1976) was an African-American singer, athlete, actor and political activist. Robeson rejected a career as an athlete and enrolled in Columbia University where he pursued acting. In 1930, he was the first black actor to portray Shakespeare's Othello in an all-white cast. He was blacklisted at the height of his career under the McCarthy era for his politics.

He obtained a law degree in 1923 but, because of the lack of opportunity for blacks in the legal profession, he had already drifted to the stage, making a London debut in 1922. He joined a New York theatre group that included playwright Eugene O’Neill, and appeared in O'Neill's play All God's Chillun Got Wings in 1924. His appearance in the title role of O'Neill's The Emperor Jones caused a sensation in New York City and London. Robeson had a superb bass-baritone singing voice. In 1925 he gave his first vocal recital of African-American spirituals in New York City which began a long career of vocal recitals of classical and folk music. He became world famous as Joe in the musical play Show Boat with his version of “Ol' Man River.”

Increasing political awareness impelled Robeson to visit the Soviet Union in 1934, and from then on he became identified with left-wing causes and ideas while still continuing his success in concerts, recordings, and theatre. In 1950 the U.S. State Department withdrew his passport because he refused to sign an affidavit disclaiming membership in the Communist Party. In the following years he was virtually ostracized for his political views, although in 1958 the Supreme Court overturned the affidavit ruling. Robeson then left the United States to live in Europe and travel in countries of the Soviet bloc, but he returned to the United States in 1963 because of ill health. (Abridged from copyrighted material of www.biography.com.)

The Musicians

Dr. James Longmire holds three degrees in music, his education culminating in a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Longmire has had a distinguished career in opera, oratorio and song recital. He is active as a recitalist and oratorio soloist in the Triangle. He appeared as guest soloist in Handel’s Messiah at St. Martins-in-the-Fields and is known for his interpretations of Vaughan William’s Five Mystical Songs, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Bach’s Mass in B Minor. Dr. Longmire has taught singing for more than 30 years and currently has a teaching studio in Southeast Raleigh. He has been on the faculty of North Carolina State University, Shaw University and Campbell University. He is well known for his master classes and vocal clinics throughout the state.

Susan Timmons is an accomplished musician who is active in the Triangle. She holds two degrees in English which led her to a strong interest in vocal texts and their relationship to the music written for them. For over ten years, she has accompanied James Longmire and his students in performances, competitions, lessons, auditions and recitals. She has studied piano privately throughout her life. She is also the regular accompanist for Eric Hale, the host of Ruggero Piano’s Fourth Friday Mix recital series. She was formerly on the board of directors of Raleigh Chamber Music Guild and is a strong supporter of great music.

Nets for Life

The Nets for Life campaign was launched throughout the Diocese of North Carolina in partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development. A single net can provide protection for three people from mosquitoes and the malaria resulting from mosquito bites during the night. One net costs only $12. The goal is a bold one and daring one. It is to purchase and deliver 40,000 nets.  Bishop Curry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina has sought the voluntary participation of Diocesan parishes, missions, schools and campus ministries. Through the Nets for Life program,  he believes the lives of 100,000 people might be saved in the Third World. Bishop Curry has said, "If you believed that it was possible I suspect you might say something like, ‘If we can do it, why don't we?' Well, it is possible, we can do it, and we are, by God's grace, going to.“