Since famed Louisville Orchestra conductor Teddy Abrams first graced the stages of Whitney Hall, Louisville patrons of fine music knew they were in for a treat. In what was a monumental transition into celebrating the roots of classical music as well as other important genres, the season line-ups soon began to reveal what Teddy and crew had in mind and where the future of the Louisville Orchestra was heading, and all signs pointed to exciting times ahead. 

With past collages featuring various musicians, rock bands and even local artists, paired with the harmonic orchestra ensembles, Teddy and the LO have attracted new patrons to the performances as well as invigorated the long-time patrons of the group.  

Just in time for the holidays, the Louisville Orchestra is excited to celebrate the excitement of R&B and Soul music that is rooted in Gospel traditions and merged with doo-wop sounds. Soul music began to rise with the post-WWII generation when professional black musicians began showcasing their talents and energetic musical stylings in what eventually emerged into as the traditional pop music we hear today. 

Soon, the great Soul and R&B musicians who celebrated their fresh sounds brought a cascade of new music to stages everywhere. Some of the all-time greats including Ray Charles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and many others crossed musical, and social, barriers to bring a new sound to the world and another music genre that would last forever. 

During this time, music entrepreneurs also made a name for themselves and began to blossom including the likes of Detroit’s Barry Gordy (founder of Tamala Motown Records) and Jim Wexler (Atlantic Records) when they began producing music that featured powerful black vocalists. Featuring deeply emotional lyrics, imaginative and memorable melodies, and soaring arrangements for brass, percussion and backup choirs, the new genre caught on quickly and never looked back. 

At the same time, Soul music turned to the successful teen market with catchy lyrics and tunes with driving clean beats, just right for AM radio. Groups like The Supremes and The Four Tops delighted listeners with melodrama and the exuberant romanticism that bubbled as the antidote to rock ‘n roll of the time.

Like no other music, American Soul brought a divided country together during the 1960s and 70s and the scope of influence spread to an international appeal. To be unaware of the music of Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Dianna Ross was almost impossible as their songs regularly graced stages, airwaves and the American culture overall. These international music superstars smashed racial barriers in unimaginable ways with the power of their music.

To celebrate this important time in music history, once again, The Louisville Orchestra and conductor Teddy Abrams, have compiled an LO Virtual Edition Concert dedicated to highlighting the works of these vocal giants. 

Featuring Louisville-based musicians Jason Clayborn and Daria Raymore, listeners will embrace the vocal power and the deep instinct for performing Soul music that comes from their living and breathing Gospel and R&B music throughout their amazing careers. Clayborn has graced the LO stages for many seasons and was a big part of Gospel at the Symphony, the last concert the LO was able to produce in person at the Kentucky Center. 

Through a generous donation, The Louisville Orchestra is excited to offer this performance for free through December 31. CLICK HERE to access the virtual stream and use the promo code FREE to start streaming. Enjoy!