2020 Program – Hold Fast to Dreams

This concert “Hold Fast to Dreams” was presented by the African American Composer Initiative on Saturday, January 25, and Sunday, January 26, 2020 at the Eastside College Preparatory School, Performing Arts Center in East Palo Alto, California, USA.

Featuring music by: Margaret Bonds, Dr. Valerie Capers, Kenny Dorham, Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, Jeremiah Evans, Adolphus Hailstork, Charles Lloyd, Jr., Florence Price, John Robinson III, , William Grant Still, Mary Lou Williams, and Stevie Wonder.


Pianist: Josephine Gandolfi (Picasso Ensemble), Valerie Capers, Deanne Tucker,
Soprano: Yolanda Rhodes,
Mezzo-Soprano: Eithne Pardini,
Tenor: Othello Jefferson,
Vocalist/Pianist: LaDoris Cordell,
Violinist: Susan C. Brown (Picasso Ensemble),
Cellist: Victoria Ehrlich (Picasso Ensemble),
Bassist: John H. Robinson III,
Percussion: Jim Kassis,
Trombone: John Monroe,
Trumpet: John Worley,
Clarinetist: Carol Somersille,
Saxophone: Oscar Pangilinan, Tod Dickow,
Flute: Stephanie McNab,
Eastside Choir: Jansen Verplank, Director & Pianist, Heber Alvarez, bass

Click here for Complete concert video and narration or listen to individual pieces – click on titles below.

Love’s in Need of Love Today” by Stevie Wonder
Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round” Freedom Song
Eastside College Preparatory School Choir, Jansen Verplank, Director and Pianist

Three Spirituals arranged by Charles Lloyd, Jr
Ain’t a Dat Good News
Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger
Hush! Somebody’s Callin’ My Name
Othello Jefferson, tenor, LaDoris Cordell and Jodi Gandolfi, piano

Vocal music by Jeremiah Evans
April Rain Song” (Langston Hughes) –
LaDoris Cordell, vocal and Jodi Gandolfi, piano

The New Colossus” (Emma Lazarus)
Yolanda Rhodes, soprano and Jodi Gandolfi, piano

William Grant Still – Folk Suite No 2
El Zapatero” (Spanish California)
Mol’e” (Peru)
Mom’zelle Zizi” (Creole – Louisiana)
Peruvian Melody” (Incan)
Stephanie McNab, flute, and Picasso Ensemble

Valerie Capers Trio
Kenny Dorham, arr. Capers – “Blue Bossa
Valerie Capers, piano, John Robinson, bass, Jim Kassis, percussion

Music by Mary Lou Williams
Two Piano Boogies:
Special Freight” – Deanne Tucker, piano
Bobo and Doodles” – LaDoris Cordell and Jodi Gandolfi, piano duet

Anima Christi”–LaDoris Cordell, solo vocal
Yolanda Rhodes, Eithne Pardini, Othello Jefferson, vocal back-up, Carol Somersille, bass clarinet, Jansen Verplank, piano, John Robinson, bass, Jim Kassis, percussion

Florence Price – “Hold Fast to Dreams” (Langston Hughes)
Yolanda Rhodes, soprano, Deanne Tucker, piano

Two settings of poems by Paul Lawrence Dunbar:
Valerie Capers “We Wear the Mask
Othello Jefferson, tenor, Jodi Gandolfi, piano, John Robinson, bass,
Jim Kassis and Deanne Tucker, percussion

Adolphus Hailstork “Longing
Yolanda Rhodes, soprano, Deanne Tucker, piano

A New Trio by John Robinson (2019)
The Two-Legged Waltz
Picasso Ensemble

A New Arrangement by Valerie Capers (2019)
“Duke” Ellington – “In a Mellow Tone
Stephanie McNab, flute, John Worley, trumpet, John Monroe, trombone, Carol Somersille, clarinet, Oscar Pangilinan, alto saxophone, Tod Dickow, tenor saxophone, Valerie Capers, piano, John Robinson,bass, Jim Kassis, percussion

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand” arr. Margaret Bonds
Yolanda Rhodes, LaDoris Cordell, Othello Jefferson, vocals,
and Jodi Gandolfi, piano

Company Finale, Freedom Song, arranged by Valerie Capers
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Hold On