Review: Spirituals, Opera A La Carte and The Concerto

Recently, the Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra performed a program of cultural diversity ranging from Negro Spirituals and early African American classics to everyone’s operatic favorites concluding with a concerto covering over 3 centuries of music.

Pete Allman introducing opera, spirituals and a concerto.
Pete Allman introducing orchestrated selections and Professor Janise White

This delightful concert held at the Vallejo Drive Seventh-day Adventist Church in Glendale was performed by the internationally acclaimed Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra. It was founded in 1988 by Professor Janise White to preserve the works of Black symphonists.

The orchestra debuted over KUSC Sundays Live in 1990. Since that time, the AACMSO has performed throughout Los Angeles.

The program opened with Zemira, an overture by the early Afro-Brazilian composer, Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia (1767-1830). This work was followed by “Lyric for Strings” by the late Pulitzer Prize winner, George T. Walker (1922-2018).

Opera Singers

Opera singers Crystal White, Soprano from UTSA Lyric Opera and Wayne Shepperd, Baritone from the Los Angeles Opera became the highlight of the program with arias from Carmen, Don Giovanni, Porgy & Bess and Spirituals, Little David Play on Your Harp and Deep River with Maia, harpist joining the Chamber Orchestra.

Concerto by Howlett Smith

Janise White, conductor and pianist, brilliantly performed The Glory Hallelujah Variations Concerto by Honoree Howlett Smith, renowned jazz pianist and composer of “Little Altar Boy.”

wayne shepperd and crystal white with choir and orchestra.
Wayne Shepperd and Crystal White With Choir and Orchestra

George Shaw conducted the second half of the concert. (website:

Promoting Peace

The informative style of orchestrated art in enhancing the concept of beautiful classical music, also promoting peace within the mind, is one of the missions of AACMSO. The old adage of “music calms the beast within us,” certainly applies to this type of orchestrated music.

Professor Janice White, an educator, is also known as a world renowned pianist and light opera vocalist. The AACMSO this February received a Congressional Award from Congresswoman Judy Chu.

Crystal White’s glowing and penetrating vocal power complimented the rich beauty of Wayne Shepperd’s bass voice as they performed operatic arias during the evening concert.

Michael Wright thrilled the audience with his stunning portrayal of Sportin’ Life.

Janise White’s pianistics thrilled the audience as she played through the full gamut of musical genres from the fugue to swing jazz.

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CSN News awards 5 stars to AACMSO.

professor janise white with howlett smith.
Professor Janise White with Howlett Smith
crystal, pete allman and professor janise white.
Crystal, Pete Allman, and Professor Janise White
wayne shepperd and crystal white
Wayne Shepperd and Crystal White with the orchestra.
michael wright sportin life.
Michael Wright with Sportin’ Life.
Pete Allman
Pete Allman, "The Man on the Scene," is based in Marina del Rey, California, concentrating on producing feature films, television projects, and commercials. Pete also has an office in Las Vegas, which he visits occasionally.Pete is also a restaurant critic, broadcast personality and celebrity interviewer. He produces inspirational messages for television and other media.Of all the investigations he makes, we suspect he likes critiquing restaurants the most, because he can taste the food, savor the atmosphere, interact with people, and photograph all the goodies.Subscribe to Pete Allman, Writer by Email