Date(s) - 03/03/2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Cornell University | Barnes Hall
ITHACA, NY – The Cornell University Chorus’ Empowerment through Music events take place this year on March 3-4 and center around a recently premiered project: “Freedom on the Move, Songs in Flight.” Basing their music on the Cornell-founded “Freedom on the Move” database (the largest crowdsourced database of fugitive slave advertisements in North America), composers and performers including Shawn Okpebholo, Mason Bynes, Tsitsi Ella Jaji, Rhiannon Giddens, and more collaborated to weave narratives from the source material to sound out liberation and re-humanization of people escaping enslavement.
For these events, composer Mason Bynes and countertenor Reginald Mobley will be visiting campus to speak about the project, perform selections, and work with students. Mobley will give a solo voice masterclass on Friday, March 3 at 6:00 pm in Barnes Hall. The weekend will culminate on Saturday, March 4 at 7:00 pm in Barnes Hall with a performance by the Chorus and Glee Club of Bynes’ Three Dialogues, a performance by Mobley of solo selections, and a roundtable discussion about the Songs in Flight project with Bynes, Mobley, Martha Guth (professor of voice at Ithaca College and co-founder of the project), and Ed Baptist (professor of history at Cornell and co-founder of the Freedom on the Move database).
Mason Bynes is a Boston-based composer, vocalist, and multimedia artist from Sugar Land, TX. She pulls from various stylistic sources, blurring the line between traditionalism and modernism. Her goal in creating music and art is to bridge the gap between genre, performance setting, and venue, synthesizing genres, sound aesthetics, and visual curations to bring listeners together. Recent collaborations and commissions include The Westerlies and Festival of New Trumpet Music, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, WindSync, Ex-Aequo, Boston Art Song Society, Bass Players for Black Composers, and New York’s Parlando Chamber Orchestra. In Three Dialogues, Bynes asks “How does one create music for joy and sorrow, for challenge and triumph, for jubilance and anguish? Can sorrow, strife, and yearning inform joy, peace, and attainment?”
Countertenor Reginald Mobley is renowned for his interpretation of the baroque, classical, and modern repertoire and leads a prolific career on both sides of the Atlantic. An advocate for diversity in music and its programming, Reginald is a programming consultant for the Handel & Haydn Society, Visiting Artist for Diversity Outreach with Apollo’s Fire, and is a regular guest with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort, Seraphic Fire, and Agave Baroque. With the latter, Reginald recorded American Originals, a collection of spirituals that earned a Grammy nomination in 2022. His 2022-2023 season includes a solo recital at the Miller Theatre (NYC) showcasing Bach Cantatas; his debut with the New York Philharmonic in Messiah, a piece he will also sing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; and he will feature as a soloist in Carmina Burana with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and in concerts with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Early Music Vancouver, and Seraphic Fire.