San Francisco – Back by popular demand, the award-winning Aeolians of Oakwood University is returning to perform at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, 1399 McAllister St, San Francisco. Admission is free.
The internationally-renowned choir, organized by the late Dr. Eva B. Dykes in 1946, made its stunning Northern California debut at Third Baptist just last year. However, the timing of their upcoming San Francisco performance makes their return even more significant.
African American families in San Francisco are in dire need of inspiration following a grim report showing a widening achievement gap at their schools. The report has prompted the NAACP’s San Francisco chapter, headed by Dr. Rev. Amos Brown of Third Baptist Church, to submit a comprehensive intervention proposal to the San Francisco Unified School District that maps a road to an advantaged education for the city’s African American students. The proposed interventions include a summer enrichment program, personalized tutoring and academic mentoring, mental health support, a Pathways to Success program and, yes, music education.
Through music, The Aeolians of Oakwood University has proven for decades what can happen when members of an historically marginalized community band together to achieve greatness. Under the leadership of Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand, an Oakwood graduate, The Aeolians are champions in both national and international choir competitions, earning a four-peat in HBCU (Historically Black College and University) competitions. The choir features a repertoire ranging from the Baroque era to the 20th century, and moreover this choir is an authoritative exponent of Negro spirituals and work songs which express the yearnings of our forefathers to be free.
Research has shown that musical training emboldens learning skills and positively impacts social and cognitive outcomes. In San Francisco, the Charles A. Tindley Music Academy provides this education through academic, artistic and personal development activities. The Academy serves as a key piece to the NAACP’s intervention proposal for SFSUSD.
“This return visit by the world-class The Aeolians is providing us more than an rare, can’t-miss performance. They serve as an example of what we can accomplish here in San Francisco if we can implement a well-rounded, personalized program serving the most underserved families in our community,” Rev. Brown said. “Providing an advantaged education to this city’s dwindling African American population is long overdue.”
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