By ALLISON MATYUS
On Sunday, June 5, the Cantate Chicago choir will perform a special concert at the First Unitarian Church, 5650 S. Woodlawn Ave.
The performance is entitled, “Walk Together,” and will focus on racial understanding and reconciliation from a wide selection of African American spirituals. Benjamin Rivera, the director of the choir, said that the goal of the performance is to form a partnership of cooperation to end the racial tension that plagues not only the city of Chicago, but also the United States as a whole.
“As I look at current racial and ethnic tensions, which have been a part of our city’s history for as long as I can remember, I can’t help but wonder what I might do about it,” Rivera said. “It makes sense that I, as a musician, would choose to bring people together around music.”
The concert begins at 4 p.m. and will include spirituals from sing-a-longs to notable work from Moses Hogan, a favorite arranger of Rivera’s. A diverse group of 48 singers from notable choirs such as the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Grant Park Chorus will put on the one hour and 45 minute concert.
“The priority is to have as many people as possible participate,” Rivera said. “We want it to be a moment where the audience can feel in touch with the people around them.”
Tickets are $20 or $10 for students, but Rivera said they will not turn away someone if they can’t afford it and that they also welcome larger donations. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Chicago Children’s Choir, which serves more than 4,000 children across the city.
Rivera’s vision for a concert focusing on celebrating people’s differences and diversity has been a long time coming because of the racial and ethnic tension he has seen while growing up in Chicago.
“The goal is to foster a sense of community and if we can do that through music, then I think we can accomplish a lot,” he said.