Please join me in sharing the excitement of the Washington, D.C. début
of The Jason Max Ferdinand Singers on Saturday, August 13th at 5 p.m. in
the iconic sacred splendor of National City Christian Church under the
direction of the incomparable Jason Max Ferdinand. I ‘sat down’ with
Ferdinand about the genesis of his ensemble and the unforgettable
evening of music set to take place in the Nation’s Capital! Spread the
word! This is the choral music ticket of the summer!
by Patrick D. McCoy
For those who adventure into the world of concert choral music it is
not unusual to encounter a vocal ensemble named and fashioned after a
specific namesake. The Dale Warland Singers, The Robert Shaw Festival
Singers, The Robert DeCormier Singers, The Albert McNeill Jubilee
Singers or The Lloyd Mallory Singers may initially come to mind. A
game-changer has arrived on the scene-ready to add its name to the
marquee of this grand tradition. Named for, created and led by
celebrated conductor Jason Max Ferdinand, it is with great excitement
that we share in announcing the second season of The Jason Max Ferdinand
Premiering in March 2021, the ensemble appeared with Decca Classics
recording artists Voces8, to create a live virtual concert experience
for music lovers around the world who were quarantined during in the
midst of the COVID-10 pandemic entitled, Live from London.
Since then,the group has toured both nationally and internationally. The
twenty-eight member mixed vocal ensemble will make its Washington, D.C.
début on Saturday, August 13, 2022 at 5 p.m. in the iconic sacred
splendor of National City Christian Church.
In regards to his newly formed brainchild, Jason says, “This is not a nascent concept, and I’ve been conceptualizing it for about twenty years. I am anxious and ready to create it. With some prodding and a team in place, I have been encouraged to set it free. The voices are exciting, their repertoire will reach hearts and minds, and bring hope for a better tomorrow.”
We caught up with Ferdinand to chat about the significance of his ensemble and the big DC début:
PDM: What specifically inspired the formation of The Jason Max Ferdinand Singers?
JMF: The seed for this endeavor was planted way
back in 2001. It was after my Master’s recital at Morgan State
University, where my professor was Dr. Nathan Carter, many members of
that ensemble pleased for me to keep the group together. Angelo Johnson,
my dear friend and member of this present ensemble, would constantly
remind me for the next 20+ years. Honestly, I was scared to venture
out. It was at the asking of Robin Tyson, manager of Voces8, that
compelled me to strongly consider it and here we are.
PDM: Musically speaking, what would you say is (or will be) the hallmark of your ensemble?
JMF: The beauty of this aggregation, and the
ongoing response to that question, is that, we are enjoying discovering
the answer. We have a total blast enjoying the varying talents and
everyone literal brings their own voice to the mix. Time will tell and
perhaps, the answer should be left as an ongoing quest.
PDM: Your upcoming DC dèbut concert is in one of
Washington’s most iconic sacred spaces. What led you to National City as
the performance venue?
JMF: It is interesting how the stars align. It
was a mutual friend that connected Gerald Lee Ricks and I
together. Gerald serves as musical director at the historic church and
he presented the idea and more. We are so humbled to now be connected.
PDM: Tell us about the composition of the group.
JMF: The composition is what makes this such a beautiful thing. We have as some examples:
- 10-time Grammy winner
- Law students
- Police Officer
- Undergraduate and Graduate Students
- Music Teachers
- Music Producers
Most importantly, we have a great group of citizens.
Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand is perhaps most well known for his most
recent tenure as the conductor of the award-winning Aeolians of Oakwood
University, in Huntsville Alabama. Recently, he been appointed as the
new Director of Choral Activities at his alma mater, the University of
Maryland, College Park, succeeding his long time mentor and professor
Dr. Edward Maclary. Additionally, Ferdinand’s choral series, his
recently released book: Teaching With Heart, a Conductor’s Compendium for Addressing Societal Challenges through Music and the Jason Max Ferdinand Singers’ album Solace, are all available through GIA Publishing and on all streaming platforms.