The Performing Arts Center is sponsoring “Food for the Spirit, Food for the Hungry,” a concert to benefit the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia on May 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall. UGA faculty members Gregory Broughton (tenor), Stephanie Tingler (soprano) and George Darden (piano) will present a concert of spirituals by noted composers and arrangers including Athens native Hall Johnson.
In lieu of tickets, admission will be the donation of two canned goods or two nonperishable food items. An opportunity to make monetary donations will be available as well.
Composer Hall Johnson was born in Athens on March 12, 1888. He graduated from the Knox Institute in Athens and continued his education at Atlanta University, Allen University in South Carolina and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1923 he began performing as the violist in New York’s Negro String Quartet. In 1925 he formed the Hall Johnson Negro Choir, stating that he wanted “to show how the American Negro slaves created, propagated and illuminated an art form which was, and still is, unique in the world of music.”
During the 1930s and 1940s, Johnson contributed to the Broadway musicals Green Pastures and Run Little Chillun and films such as Lost Horizon and Cabin in the Sky.
He received numerous awards for his compositions including New York’s Handel Award, an honorary doctorate from the Philadelphia Music Academy and a posthumous induction into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.
Hall died April 30, 1970, during a fire in his New York apartment.