Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient, producer, composer, conductor and multi-genre recording artist Damien Sneed will join author Karen Chilton for the inaugural production of “The Soul Now Sings: A Musical Christmas Journey.” The cast features acclaimed top vocalists and musicians including singers Martin Bakari, Chenee Campbell, Latice Crawford, Ayana George, Kaleb A. Hopkins, Anitra McKinney, Lynette Rhett McNeil, Tiffany Stevenson, Brandie Sutton, Matia Celeste Washington. The musicians include Justin Cunningham, Stacy Dillard, Jammal Graham, Keyon Harrold, Segdrick Marsh, Stephanie Matthews, and Patrice Jackson-Tilghman. “The Soul Now Sings” premieres tonight, Friday, December 4th at 7:00 p.m. at the Greene Space, located at 44 Charleston Street in the SoHo section of New York City, NY. Subsequent performance are scheduled on Saturday, December 5th at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit, www.TheGreeneSpace.org.
“The Soul Now Sings” tells a story of hope and transformation. As a world-weary New Yorker trudges through a cold December night, the holiday spirt seems far away. But then a few chance encounters inspire tender reminiscences and an unexpected spiritual journal begins. Sneed’s original arrangements include “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child,” “Fix Me Jesus,” “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” “Call Him By His Name,” “His Love Is Sure,” “Silent Night,” “Jesus Oh What A Wonderful Child,” “Adore Him Medley,” “Joy To The World,” as well as a powerful rendition of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and “Rejoice Greatly” from Handel’s Messiah.
“The Soul Now Sings” is Sneed’s second theatrical production. During the summer, he 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.
In October, Sneed traveled to Madrid for two key events. He performed in concert during the International Breast Cancer Awareness Week at the historic Nuevo Apolo Theater in Madrid. He performed music from his current double disc project, Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition, as well as works by other artists and composers. He was accompanied by Madrid’s acclaimed mass gospel choir, Coro Gospel de Madrid. He also performed on the same concert with Charrisse Nelson-McIntosh of Richard Smallwood’s group, Vision. The concert raised 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.
A week later, during Sneed’s second visit to Madrid, Spain, he hosted a series of workshops for the Federation of Gospel Choirs of Spain (Fedegospel). The inaugural national gospel workshop, “Learning Gospel Music from its Roots” was designed for choir directors, worship leaders, musicians, singers and other key members of the music ministry. Other special guest speakers include Amos Obasohan, a Nigerian Gospel singer and pastor; Nancy Roncesvalles, founding director of the Coro Gospel de Madrid, the city’s first mass choir and Sofia Alm of CD Praise Unit, a leading Swedish group.
Throughout the 2015 and 2016 seasons, local PBS stations are following out the 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. Earlier this year, Everyone Has a Place premiered on Charlotte’s PBS station WTVI, followed by Detroit’s PBS station WTVS. This month airing included KPBS-TV (San Diego), KCSM-TV (San Franciso), WCMU-TV (Flint, MI), and WCMT (Traverse City, MI). 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.
In between Sneed’s concert schedule, he maintains his professorships at both Nyack Christian College and the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters in New York. In addition, Sneed, who has a master’s degree in Music Technology: Scoring for Film and Multimedia from New York University, currently is working on a master’s degree in Music Business in a specialized joint program at New York University’s Steinhardt School and the Leonard N. Stern School of Business.