The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Youth orchestra honors former Board of Trustees president, others with concert

Grammy winner Christopher Tin conducts both the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and the Angel Chorale in performing “Njooni Waaminifu” at the Marsee Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 19. (Joshua Flores | The Union)

During the concert, as the first few notes of a piece began to play, audience members were greeted by a familiar voice and face.

The late Kenneth Brown Sr., former El Camino College Board of Trustees president, was honored during a performance of Tannhauser’s “Pilgrim’s Chorus.”

A slideshow featuring photos of Brown along with his recorded voice speaking to students was shown in accompaniment with the music.

The concert was unofficially a night of remembrance as Brown and the memories of people who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic were honored at the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles’ concert at the Marsee Auditorium on Nov. 19.

Concertgoers were reminded of the Ken Brown Memorial Scholarship, established by Brown’s family after his death. The scholarship aims to provide El Camino students the opportunity to attend Historically Black Universities and Colleges the same way Brown did.

The concert was a collaboration between the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles or ICYOLA, and the Angel City Chorale.

“We are the largest primarily person of color [youth] orchestra in the country,” Dwayne Burrell, principal assistant conductor for ICYOLA, said.

The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles is a nonprofit that grants members opportunities to learn music.

The ICYOLA has no membership fees and has all expenses paid for including free private lessons for each member.

“We are an organization that is not only focused on music but focused on bettering our members to be great citizens of our world,” Burrell said.

The founder, executive director and conductor for ICYOLA, Charles “Chuck” Dickerson III, has close ties with Angel City Chorale and set up a collaboration with them according to Burrell.

Dickerson was unable to conduct the concert due to health reasons.

Sue Fink, artistic director and founder of Angel City Chorale, said the choral group believes in creating community and unity.

“When people from different ethnicities, religions, and belief systems come together to create something beautiful, then all those other [negative] things go away,” Fink said.

The collaboration between the two nonprofits is part of the California Festival celebration of new music all over the state, which showcases some of the best performances.

The ICYOLA and Angel City Chorale performed three songs together: “Psalm 91,” composed by Dickerson, “Njooni Waaminifu (Oh Come All Ye Faithful in Swahili)” and “The Light of Hope.”

Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin conducted Njooni Waaminifu.

“‘The Light of Hope’ is the story of Christ,” Donald Parades, a reverend and a soloist in the song, said. “Christ being the light of hope and He still shines.”

“The Light of Hope” performance was accompanied by a picture slideshow of community members who lost their lives during the pandemic.

The names and pictures of those who passed away, along with a recounting of events that transpired before and during the pandemic, were shown.

“You have these two communities coming together to present something great,” Burrell said. “You had the community coming out to support the folks we lost and to support Ken.”

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