We’re currently assembling the 2017 gathering. Here’s what we presented in 2016.
Make a Joyful Noise: Singing in the Gospel Style
with Raymond Wise, Ph.D
The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival is excited to welcome Dr. Raymond Wise to lead the Gospel Track for 2016!
His interactive workshop entitled “Make a Joyful Noise” will focus on both teaching and performing in the African American gospel style. Participants will learn how to create the gospel sound, implement stylistics vocal techniques and performance practices. By the conclusion of the session, every participant will be singing, rocking and clapping in the gospel style. This workshop will be appealing and accessible to singers of all ages and backgrounds. No prior experience with gospel music is necessary.
Daily classes start on Monday August 1, 2016 and run through Friday August 5, 2016 from 3:30-5:30pm. Your tuition includes entry to the main stage performance on Saturday August 6, 2016.
African American gospel music has spread beyond the Black Church to become a part of festivals and choral programs in schools, churches, communities, and professional choruses throughout the world. As the gospel style has become increasingly popular singers, musicians and conductors with limited experience and training in the gospel style are seeking tools and resources that will allow them and their choruses to perform gospel music with stylistic authenticity and maintain the artistic integrity.
As a collective art form gospel music has always been able to bring people together from different backgrounds to create one musical family. As a music of joy and hope it has always been used to foster harmony, healing and mutual understanding. Therefore, this workshop will bring people together to celebrate diversity and artistic expression through the performance of Gospel music.
Dr. Wise will start by performing or listening to a gospel song. Through a series of questions and statements, he will help participants to define African American Gospel music and identify the factors that distinguish it from other African American sacred music and other styles also referred to as gospel music. The session will review the history of gospel music to show the connection to blues and jazz and show the distinction between past and present styles of gospel music.
All participants will form a gospel choir, learn gospel songs then learn and apply the 5 S’s of Gospel Music (Sound, Style, Sorrow, Spirit and Spontaneity). As participants learn about each technique they will apply the various performance practices and vocal techniques in order to transform the song they have learned into an authentic gospel performance. After learning and polishing the song, singers will learn and apply the non-music performance practices such as rocking, clapping, movement, repetition and improvisation, singing with spirit, etc. Various gospel conducting techniques will be explored and applied. The group will work over several days to learn and polish several songs and apply all of the techniques they have learned. At the end of the week participants will take part in a time of questions and answers and be given resources/repertoire to assist them with their future performance of gospel music. The week will conclude with the group presenting a concert featuring the gospel music they have learned during the week.
Rev. Raymond Wise, Ph. D., a native of Baltimore, Md., is the son of C. Dexter Wise Jr. and Rev. Julia Virginia Wise. He began his musical career at the age of three, singing gospel music with his family singing group “The Wise Singers.” Rev. Wise was educated through the Baltimore City Public School System and graduated second out of class of 500 from the Paul Laurence Dunbar Community High School in 1979.
He then went on to Denison University (Granville, Ohio) where he reorganized the Black Student Union Choir, started the Black Student Union Ensemble and Dance Company and earned a B.F.A. in Music. From there he went on to study Opera, Art, and German at the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, Austria, then on to study African-American History, Music, and Dance at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California. He completed an apprenticeship in the business and recording of Gospel Music with the Walter Hawkins Corporation in Oakland, California. Rev. Wise was awarded a Graduate Fellowship from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio where earned his Masters in Music Education and Ohio Teacher’s Certification. In addition he also completed a Doctorate in Music Education at the Ohio State University for which his dissertation topic is “Defining African American Gospel Music by Tracing its Historical and Musical Development from 1900 to 2000.”
Rev. Wise began his acting career at the age of 9, when he played the role of Benjamin in a regional theater production of ‘The Me Nobody Knows”. He sang the role of Amahl in Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” As a teen he served as a chorus member and soloist for the Baltimore Opera Company’s education outreach program and performed nationally and abroad with the Paul Laurence Dunbar Chamber Singers, under the direction of Hugh Carey. Wise has performed as a counter tenor in such works as Handel’s Messiah and in Leslie Burrs’ work entitled “Declaration of Joy” written for gospel chorus, soloist, and orchestra. Wise performed the role of Marcus in the Opera Columbus premiere of Susan Kander’s opera entitled “Somebody’s Children” and performed the solo for several of Copland’s Old American Songs with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and served as a guest soloist, conductor, and/or composer with the Nashville, Littleton, Akron, Ithaca College and Czech National Symphonies.
Raymond Wise, has served as a church minister of music for more than 30 years in addition he has served as the musical director for more than 30 choirs and has prepared choirs to perform for national recording artists such as Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Yolanda Adams, Tramaine Hawkins, Wintley Phipps, and others. Wise served as the Chorus Master for the world premiere of the Opera Columbus Production of Leslie Burr’s “Vanqui” and Assistant Chorus Master for the Opera Columbus Production of “Aida,” Wise served as chorus master for Leslie Burrs “Declaration of Joy” and the Columbus Symphony production of Hannibal Lokumbe’s “African Portraits.” Wise also served as the musical director for Carlyle Brown’s production of “Yellow Moon.” Wise served as the Co-Musical director for “Harlem Hallelujah” a live Sunday morning service at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.
As a composer Wise has penned more than 600 compositions that have been performed and recorded by local, national, and international recording artists. Wise recently performed one of his compositions at Carnegie Hall. Dr. Wise’s compositions have been published in hymnals such as “Zion Still Sings” and the “Lead Me Guide Me” Catholic Hymnal. Some of his notable works include “Afro-American Suite” written for Bass-Baritone and Chorus. Wise co-wrote the script for “God What Color Is Trouble” with director Ron Pitts and has written the music for more than 20 original musical theater productions, including Dwight Collin’s “Dark Symphony,” the Samuel S. Davis production of “The Snow Queen,” and the Amera-flora production of “Listen With Your Heart.” Wise composed the musical score for the children’s opera “Barefoot.” Barefoot, originally composed to be performed by Opera Columbus’ educational outreach program has also been performed by The Children’s Theater Company of Winston-Salem and Winston-Salem State University in which Dr. Maya Angelou performed the role of narrator.
In 2003, Dr. Wise released the Raymond Wise Choral Sheet Music Series, through which more than 200 of his Gospel, Spiritual, and Choral arrangements are available. In 2004 Wise released an anthology of Spirituals entitled 21 Spirituals for the 21st Century that features 23 of his concert spiritual arrangements. This collection has been praised and performed by choirs all across the nation. Since releasing the 21 Spiritual’s collection Dr. Wise has received commissions and invitations to compose original works for the Penn State University Spiritual’s Festival and Winterfest, The American Spiritual’s Ensemble, The AME Congress 145th Anniversary Celebration, the International Spiritual’s Festival held in honor of Moses Hogan in Prague, Czech Republic in the summer of 2008, the Springfield Mass Unity Festival, the Trenton Children’s Chorus and others.
Raymond Wise, has studied ballet, jazz, modern, tap, African, ethnic, and experimental dance. He performed on the East Coast with the Baltimore Dance Theater Company, Baltimore, Md. under artistic director Eva Anderson. He also performed on the West Coast with the EMBAJE Dance Ensemble from San Francisco State University under artistic director Dr. Alberta Rose. Since then Wise has taught and instructed dance at The Samuel S. Davis Youth Complex for the Performing Arts and the King Complex for the Visual and Performing Arts both in Columbus, Ohio. In addition Wise has served as choreographer for many theatrical productions and instructs tap dance and liturgical dance at the Center for the Gospel Arts and for liturgical dance companies across the nation. Wise was recently honored by the City of Columbus for his contribution to dance with a portrait on the Long Street Cultural Wall, a 60 panel display of artists within the Columbus, Ohio area.
Rev. Wise has served as a church musician for more than 30 years and has appeared on radio and television, recorded 25 albums, performed with several opera singers, orchestras, dance companies, professional recording groups, and has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, as a singer, dancer, pianist, composer, choral director, lecturer, and teacher.
Rev. Wise’s goal is to use his education and experience to establish an accredited “Center For The Gospel Arts” in which “Gospel Music” and the “Gospel Arts” can be elevated, instructed, and promoted. To this end, he founded and is President of Raise Productions (1985), a gospel music production company (Columbus, Ohio).
Raise has also developed performing groups which have performed throughout the United States and Europe, won Gospel Music Excellence Awards, produced musical reviews, plays, concerts and recorded several albums. Several of the Raise groups are national recording groups who have recorded on both the Raise Record label as well as various national gospel record labels. These groups include Raise Choir, Family, Raise Mass Choir, and the Raise Kids.
Raise established “The Center For The Gospel Arts” in 1989 to provide educational training for gospel artists and the community. He has developed specialized curriculums in the gospel arts and texts for this school, which offers numerous classes per week, and has served over 5000 since its opening. Raise is currently partnering with various seminaries and colleges throughout Ohio and the United States to develop gospel arts certificate programs.
Dr. Wise developed and implemented courses in African-American Gospel Music, Spirituals, Worship, and Gospel choirs at Denison University (Granville, Ohio), The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio), Trinity Lutheran Seminary (Columbus, Ohio), Ashland Theological Seminary (Bethlehem House of Bread Program, Akron, Ohio) and Columbus School for Girls. He served as the Co-Director of the Hampton University Minister’s Conference Choir and Organist Guild Academy that provides intensive training in African American sacred music for college students preparing for service as church music ministers. He also served as the Co-Director and Director of the Hampton University Minister’s Conference Choir and Organist Guild. His knowledge of both the gospel and classical music genre has enabled him to serve as a consultant and clinician in academic and gospel music settings across the nation and abroad. This has enabled him to bridge the musical gap between the gospel and classical worlds. Wise is also a member of the national faculty of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) and the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), Ohio Choral Director’s Association (OCDA), National Association for Music Educators (NAfME formerly MENC), and Ohio Music Educator’s Association (OMEA). Wise currently serves as the Ethnic and American Music Repertoire and Standards Chair for the American Choral Director’s Association Central Division.
Dr. Wise has collaborated with several colleges across the country to establish accredited online certificate programs in African American Gospel and Sacred music. These programs once established will allow practicing gospel musicians as well traditional music majors to received academic training and credentials in gospel music enabling them to serve more effectively within African American Church settings.
Dr. Wise currently serves on the faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He serves as Professor of Practice in the African American African Diaspora Studies department and instructs courses in African American music. He also serves as the Associate Director of the African American Arts Institute, a division at IU devoted to the perpetuation and performance of African American music and art. Dr. Wise conducts the African American Choral Ensemble.
Of all of the accomplishments and experiences, the most outstanding aspect of Rev. Wise’s life is that he is “Saved” (a born again Christian). Therefore, he is committed also to “Raising the Word of God Higher,” so that lost souls will be led to Christ. And as a result of this commitment, Rev. Wise received and accepted the call to the Gospel Ministry and was licensed by the Shiloh Baptist Church in 1989. Rev. Wise was ordained in 2007 and presently serves as an Associate Minister at Faith Ministries Interdenominational Church, where Dr. C. Dexter Wise III is pastor. Dr. Wise is married to Dawnne Wise and has one son, Ryan Wise.
So you see Rev. Raymond Wise in not merely a Man with many talents, or a Musician with many accomplishments, or even a Man of great vision, but also an anointed Minister of the gospel. So as he comes forth to minister, his prayer and our prayer is that you will be blessed by his ministry.