In 1910, four years after the Atlanta race riots, the Reverend Henry Hugh Proctor of First Congregational Church of Atlanta designed a concert series to promote racial reconciliation through the arts. Proctor’s “Atlanta Colored Music Festival” introduced Atlanta audiences, both black and white, to renowned African American concert musicians.
Current Pastor Dwight Andrews revived his congregation’s music festival tradition in 2001 through association with Meridian Herald, a musical arts nonprofit led by Steven Darsey. A joint project of First Congregational Church and Meridian Herald, the Festival addresses the dynamic character of American music and arts through the lens of African American music in the classical tradition.
This year’s Festival, undaunted by the pandemic and filmed and presented online in six daily videos, focuses on environmental justice—in particular, the complex and troubled history of Atlanta’s Proctor Creek and the West Atlanta Watershed—a seminal Atlanta story, inspiring both artists and activism. Musical offerings include virtual performances by Metropolitan Opera star Morris Robinson, Timothy Miller, and the award-winning Meridian Chorale. Watch the entire festival online via Vimeo.