Friday, September 23, 2011

Tenor George Shirley to Share Story of Historical Struggles

(Photo: Janet Miller)
"Despite racial prejudice and missed opportunities, opera star George Shirley has never sung the blues. He’s made history in Michigan and across the country: first African American tenor to sing a lead role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, first black member of the elite U.S. Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., and first black high school music teacher in the Detroit Public Schools. He’s appeared singing opera on stages around the world, from New York to London to Amsterdam, appearing in everything from Porgy and Bess to Madame Butterfly and rubbing elbows with the likes of Luciano Pavarotti. Shirley, who lives in Ann Arbor, is taking his story to Logan Elementary School in Ann Arbor today as part of the nationwide effort to spread the word about African Americans who make history. HistoryMakers, a national nonprofit that has recorded the oral histories of more than 2,000 notable African Americans including Shirley, is sending 500 historymakers into schools across 35 states. Shirley joins Valarie Jarret, senior adviser to President Barack Obama; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and singer/actress Melba Moore who will go into schools and tell their stories in Friday's 'Back to School with the HistoryMakers' program." [Source] Read the whole article here.