Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient and multi-genre recording artist Damien Sneed will perform in concert during the International Breast Cancer Awareness Week at the historic Nuevo Apolo Theater in Madrid, host to many major theater and music productions. Sneed will perform music from his current double disc project, Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition, as well as works by other artists and composers. He will be accompanied by Madrid’s acclaimed mass gospel choir, Coro Gospel de Madrid, and the recently formed children choir, Gospel Kid’s Connection. Also, performing on the same concert is Charrisse Nelson-McIntosh, gospel artist, who is best known as a featured singer in Richard Smallwood’s group, Vision.
The concert event will raise money for cancer patients being treated by well-known Madrid oncologist Dr. Laura Estévez. She is one of a few doctors in Madrid to provide both practical and psychological care to patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. The program assists patients with a variety of personal care needs including grooming and various hair alternatives, provides clothing, transportation to and from chemo and doctor’s appointments, exercise classes after surgery, and group therapy sessions to walk women through the chemo process. Dr. Estévez developed an award-winning, free app titled “Contigo,” which was designed to help women who are undergoing chemotherapy. “Having an opportunity to perform abroad in Spain is always an honor,” says Sneed. “But being asked to lend my talents for a cause like this goes to a greater place than gratitude. Projects like this resonate deep within my core. Having lost my godmother to breast cancer over 20 years ago, I have sensitivity and empathy for those fighting against cancer and searching for a cure. I strongly feel the idea of using music as a tool for social change should be one of the quintessential goals of every performing artist, no matter what the musical genre may be and no matter what social issue needs to be addressed as a means for change.”
During the summer, Sneed performed in a variety of concert productions, including Aretha Franklin’s West Coast tour dates, where he served as her organist. He also was tapped by Tony Award-winner George Faison as the musical director and conductor for City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage production of “The Wiz: A Celebration in Dance and Music,” in New York City’s famed Central Park. The 40th Anniversary celebration featured a star-studded cast which included Tony Award winners Phylicia Rashad, André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater and other award-winning talent. Sneed’s other appearances included the Opera Philadelphia at Union Baptist Church; the 2nd Annual Levites’ Gathering Conference in Washington, DC and various other events to promote his current album and his gospel ensemble, The Levites.
In September, Sneed was featured on SiriusXM’s “Kirk Franklin’s Praise” channel in a series of voiceover vignettes commemorating Gospel Music Heritage Month. Throughout this season, local PBS stations will roll out a new documentary, Everyone Has a Place, by Dennis Scholl of the Knight Foundation and Marlon Johnson, a six-time Emmy award-winning producer and director. The film captures Sneed’s musical journey, alongside his mentor, Wynton Marsalis, during the 2013 historic performance of the Abyssinian Mass, composed by Marsalis and conducted by Sneed. The documentary was filmed at Charlotte’s Friendship Missionary Baptist Church during the 16-city national tour. Everyone Has a Place features the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Sneed’s 70-member Chorale Le Chateau. This summer, Sneed made special guest appearances at various film festivals to introduce and promote the film.