“Volunteering in Sing for Hope’s programs is a touchstone in my artistic life. It reconnects me with the way our music can elevate and communicate, heart-to-heart. Sing for Hope reminds me of what power we have, as artists, to heal and to help.” – Lester Lynch, Baritone (Sing for Hope Artist since 2007)
Earlier this month, Sing for Hope was delighted to welcome the renowned American baritone Lester Lynch, together with The Young People’s Chorus of New York City, for a special concert of Great American Spirituals celebrating Black History Month.
The free concert (with donations at the door benefiting Sing for Hope’s programs that bring the arts to 16,000 NYC youth annually) attracted a standing-room-only crowd to the historic Christ Church at 524 Park Avenue at East 60th Street. The enthusiastic and diverse audience included Sing for Hope students, general music fans, and classical music luminaries such as Marilyn Horne, whose presence elicited a special tribute from Mr. Lynch.
Listeners reveled in traditional favorites such as My Lord What a Morning, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, Didn’t My Lord Deliver, and Kumbaya, all of which are included on Mr. Lynch’s acclaimed new solo album, “On My Journey Now,” released by Pentatone earlier this month.
Mr. Lynch, whose rich baritone and charismatic portrayals have won him recognition in the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls, has been a Sing for Hope volunteer for nearly a decade. During the concert, he spoke movingly about his commitment to Sing for Hope’s arts outreach mission, and also about the vital role of the Great American Spirituals in our country’s musical treasury. In his words, “These songs have had a profound effect on American history, and it is my hope that they will spark the light of freedom anew for every listener.”
Mr. Lynch was joined in the concert by pianist Joel Martin, Igor Pikayzen, Yotam Ben-Or, Cristian Garcia, Frank W. Malloy III, Frank W. Malloy IV, Atse Theodros, and other leading chamber musicians, and by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, the award-winning multicultural chorus founded in 1988 by Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, widely known for its superb virtuosity and brilliant showmanship.
Heartfelt thanks to the wonderful Nicolle Foland, Lisa Delan, and the Pentatone team for their vision, expertise, and generosity in making this concert possible.
For a glimpse of Sing for Hope’s programs that transform individuals and communities through the arts, please click on the video below.