June 20, 2021 - On Demand

South Bend Symphony Orchestra Presents “A Juneteenth Celebration” on June 19 on WNIT, Michiana Public Media



The South Bend Symphony Orchestra is proud to release a new, hour-long televised program entitled “A Juneteenth Celebration.” The program, which will air on Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 9 p.m. on WNIT, Michiana Public Media, celebrates – through stories, music and poetry –Juneteenth, a holiday observed across the country celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

“This project is our Symphony’s tribute to a momentous day in the history of our country that has been often overlooked. I am pleased to be a part of bringing the history of Juneteenth and the stories and music of composers of African descent to our community,” said Symphony Board Member Dr. Marvin V. Curtis.

The program features a twelve-musician string ensemble from the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, host Dr. Curtis, guest artists Pam Blair, and Emorja Roberson; and interviews with African American leaders Latorya Greene and Gladys Muhammad, alongside South Bend Symphony Orchestra Music Director Alastair Willis. The Symphony performs five works by composers of African descent including Jesse Montgomery, Joseph Boulogne, William Grant Still, and George Walker. This project reflects, in part, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra’s commitment to the voices of South Bend’s African American community as expressed through continued dialogue and the power of the performing arts.

“For years, many have wondered why the Black community celebrates Juneteenth. To us, it is our day of freedom. We sing songs that give us strength on days of sadness. We groove to the music that makes us laugh and feel good. We share stories that bind our community. This is our emancipation,” said composer and performer Emorja Roberson.

“Equity, diversity, and inclusion is, I think, the most important priority for the South Bend Symphony Orchestra right now.  I am proud to be part of an organization that is addressing this and taking action. Our Juneteenth celebration program is just one example of our commitment,” continued Music Director Alastair Willis.

This project was made possible through the generous support of Presenting Partner the University of Notre Dame and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center; and sponsors, 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend, and the African American Community Fund at the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County.