AMPlify‘s 2014 Spring Concert will go down as a magnificent first in the annals of Atlanta Music Project history. On Thursday April 2, 2014, for the first time, young artists from AMPlify, our choral music program, joined forces with our orchestral young artists for a combined performance.

The Atlanta Music Project Gilbert House String Orchestra at the Woodruff Arts Center. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr./Solidarity Films.

The venue for the evening added to this special moment: the illustrious Rich Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center, home of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In fact the one and only Yo-Yo Ma performed the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra right after our concert!

AMPlify Primary Choir Director, James Dekle, leads the AMPlify Choirs in Let Me Fly by Rollo Dillworth. Photo by Anthony Alston Jr./Solidarity Films.

The concert opened with a nice prelude with the Atlanta Music Project Gilbert House String Orchestra performing an arrangement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, under the direction of AMP’s Executive Director, Dantes Rameau.

Led by Director of AMPlify, Aisha Bowden, the AMPlify Choirs were in rare form on this night performing four pieces, from tuneful African songs to mainstream hits by Monica and Pharrell. AMPlify‘s Director of Primary Choir , James Dekle, led the Choirs in a great performance of Rollo Dillworth’s youth choir favorite, Let Me Fly.

Aisha Bowden leads the AMPlify Choirs and AMP Gilbert House String Orchestra in the Gloria from Haydn’s Heiligmesse at the Woodruff Arts Center.

The evening’s big moment came when the Choirs and String Orchestra came together to perform the beautiful hymn, Leaning of the Everlasting Arms, led by Aisha Bowden.

A lovely violin duet provided a quiet but beautiful introduction, while during the rest of the piece, the choir sang soulfully over the lush sounds of the string orchestra.

Next the choir and orchestra performed the Gloria from Haydn’s Heiligmesse, also led by Aisha Bowden. How impressive it was to hear our young artists singing so beautifully in Latin, one of the most well known Glorias!

The encore piece, performed by the AMPlify Choirs,  was the popular tune Happy by Pharrell Williams. This was a fitting end to an concert that left audience, young artists and teaching artists, well, Happy!