Our Celebration of Arts and Culture concert on February 26 will be a distinguished
homage to Black History Month. PCC will offer many new and interesting musical
selections including the dramatic sequence God’s Trombones, based on poems by James
Weldon Johnson based on African-American folk sermons with music based on African-
American spirituals arranged by Roy Ringwald, of Fred Waring fame. This twenty-
minute set piece is arranged for mixed chorus, soloists, two narrators, piano and organ.
It recreates an historical worship service from the early part of the 20 th century. The
concert will feature several guest artists including the eminent operatic baritone, Donnie
Ray Albert, performance artist, Marlane Taylor, student orator Noah Lebeauf, the Dallas
Black Dance Theatre, and the Southwestern Christian College A Cappella Choir. This
will be a first for the Plano Civic Chorus and an event like no other as we must take all
the various parts and blend them into one joyful expression of unity and hope.
DONNIE RAY ALBERT
Born in Louisiana, Donnie Ray Albert earned a Bachelor of Music Degree at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a Master of Music Degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. His voice teachers included Victor Klimash, Bruce Foote and Thomas Hayward. Mr. Albert spent two summers as an apprentice at Wolf Trap. Upon graduating from SMU, Mr. Albert began his operatic and concert career in the summer of 1975 with Houston Grand Opera as Parson Alltalk in Treemonshia. Mr. Albert would subsequently go on to perform in ten HGO productions, including the award-winning tours of Porgy and Bess and Showboat. Thirteen years of Mr. Albert’s career were as a Bass-Baritone. In 1988, the switch to Baritone repertoire proved to be a welcome fit, which led to engagements by most of the major opera companies and orchestras in North America and Europe.
Southwestern Christian College is internationally known for its music, which represents its soul, exemplifies its spirit and purpose, and speaks of its history of struggle and accomplishment. The college's high level of musicianship is indicative of its many great choral directors, especially the late A. Hugh Graham, who created the southwestern sound. Mr. Graham brought a wide musical background to his groups, having played in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and in the army band, and having conducted many choral groups. Under his direction, the A Cappella Chorus toured Europe in 1967 and appeared on national television. For three decades, Mr. Graham conducted dozens of performances and lead over 12 national tours. This group was also blessed to have Patricia O. Evans as its soloist in residence for many years.
The current director, Lyante Savala, continues the fine tradition of choral conductors of the world renowned Southwestern Christian College A Cappella Chorus. He sang in the chorus while as a student earning his A. A. in Liberal Arts. He went on to earn a B. S. in Music Education from Fisk College, where he performed with the famous Fisk College Choir and finished his formal education with a M. M. in Music Education from Austin Peay State University. Lyante has created his own unique style and interpretation of the classic gospel sound for which the chorus is known. The chorus continues to represent SW Christian College in performances across the nation and last appeared with PCC in 2017.
The mission of Dallas Black Dance Theatre is to create and produce contemporary modern dance at its highest level of artistic excellence through performances and educational programs that bridge cultures and reach diverse communities. The vision of Dallas Black Dance Theatre is to fulfill its mission through performance and educational programs that bridge cultures, reach diverse communities and encompass ever-expanding national audiences. Dallas Black Dance Theatre, founded in 1976, is the oldest, continuously operating professional dance company in Dallas. The ensemble, a contemporary modern dance company, consists of 14 professional, full-time dancers performing a mixed repertory of modern, jazz, ethnic and spiritual works by nationally and internationally known choreographers.
Marlane Taylor is excited to be performing with the Plano Civic Chorus, after previously being a member of the chorus for 10 years. She is an accomplished vocalist who has studied with Claudia Pinza, Glenn Page and most recently, Debra Scroggins.
Ms. Taylor received her M.Ed in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Subsequent to receiving her degrees, she embarked upon a musical career that included solo recitals throughout the Western Pennsylvania area, in addition to membership in the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh. Ms. Taylor has had incredible opportunities to sing domestically and abroad with some of the finest conductors and artists, including Andre Previn and Luciano Pavarotti.
In recent years, Ms. Taylor has transitioned to acting and modeling. She has been featured in more than 40 commercials/print campaigns.
Noah LeBeauf is a 5th grader at Alcuin School. He is thriving in their Upper Elementary Montessori program. He loves math and history. Noah also enjoys playing football and basketball. In his free time, Noah likes to play video games. As a person of faith, Noah plans to study math at Texas Christian University. He aspires to become a professional football player.