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RiverArts Presents “A Spirituals Experience” with Soprano Yolanda F. Johnson

TARRYTOWN, NY: Why “Wade in the Water?” Was there a reason to tell the chariot to “Swing Low?” Yolanda F. Johnson explores the journey, through both the emotional and spiritual lens as well as the hidden communication in traditional African American spirituals. She delves into the messages these songs conveyed to enslaved Africans in America and she discusses the influence of spirituals on music of the Civil Rights Movement on through popular music.

This program, which is part-lecture, part-recital, first premiered in Harlem in February 2011 for Black History Month. Yolanda offers unique insight on traditional spirituals and illuminates their hidden meaning through performance and conversation. RiverArts’ Producer, Marie-Louise Miller, leads a conversation with Yolanda. There will be an opportunity to take audience questions.

RiverArts’ Artistic Director, Kate Ashby: “This program expresses in a powerful way the vitality and resilience of the human spirit. Yolanda is a magnificent vocalist and conveys to the audience the depth and power of these songs, leading listeners to better understand their significance and place in history.”

Yolanda F. Johnson remarked, “I’m thrilled to perform A Spirituals Experience on April 2nd with RiverArts. I look forward to performing these storied songs and share with the audience their history and place in the American musical experience. And of course, I am delighted to be included in the RiverArts Artist Conversation Series.”

“Her personal touch made the material enjoyable and approachable to diverse audiences…”

– Theresa Bowman-Smith, Chair, Yonkers Commission on Human Rights.


Presented by RiverArts’ Artist Conversation Series

Producer, Marie-Louise Miller


Saturday April 2 at 7:00pm

First Baptist Church, 56 South Broadway, Tarrytown

Tickets for $25: https://riverarts.org/a-spirituals-experience-tickets/

Further Information: https://riverarts.org/event/a-spirituals-experience/

**Proof of vaccination and masks are required to attend this event

Yolanda F. Johnson has had an outstanding career as a performing artist and philanthropist, as a composer, as an educator, and as a supporter of the arts and women’s equity. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Yolanda has performed nationally and internationally in diverse musical venues including opera, concert, oratorio and sacred music. She is an active recitalist/lecturer on varied musical subjects, including spirituals as related to the Underground Railroad and the works of women composers. Yolanda has recorded an album of Spirituals, Feel the Spirit! and co-created Music She Wrote, a celebration of women composers, with colleagues, Dr. Brooke Bryant and Dr. Michael Eisenberg

She completed her B.A. in voice performance, graduate studies in voice, and an M.A. in Arts Management. She then served as the Acting Executive Director of the Barthelmes Conservatory of Music and on the faculty of Tulsa Community College as a Voice and Humanities instructor before relocating to the NYC area. She is currently on the voice and music composition faculty at the Mozartina Music Conservatory and on the artist roster of the Westchester Chamber Soloists.

In addition to her life as an artist, Yolanda is also a current International Advisory Board member and former Representative for the Foundation for Post-Conflict Development to the United Nations, a member of the board of directors of the Hudson River Museum, Special Advisor to the American Composers Orchestra, board of directors of PowHer NY, board of directors of the Lehman College Art Gallery and is the first African American President of Women In Development, New York. Yolanda is also the Founder and President of YFJ Consulting, LLC and Founder of Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy (WOC)® and Allies in Action Membership Network.

 About RiverArts

For over half a century, RiverArts has been the catalyst that connects performers, musicians, and art-makers with Rivertowns audiences. We believe in the power of art to express, transform, and bring joy to all in our community.

RiverArts serves artists and arts lovers of all ages. Our signature programs include large, multi-village events like our Music Tour and Studio Tour, both free to the public. RiverArts offers a dynamic education program for students of music, art and dance with world-class professional instructors at affordable prices. We host numerous conversations, concerts, and gatherings that invite audiences to engage directly with award-winning artists, writers, dancers, directors, and musicians. Importantly, we strive to make the arts a vital and accessible part of everyday life in our community.

Event Location and Ticket Information

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First Baptist Church of Tarrytown
56 Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Handicap Accessible? Yes

Date: Saturday, April 2, 2022
Times: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Ticket pricing:

Get tickets now

Presenter: RiverArts
Presenter Website: https://riverarts.org/event/a-spirituals-experience/