Letters to Home

darrenjohnston-ybcaLast month, I made brief mention of Darren Johnston‘s upcoming “Letters to Home” concert. Well, it’s time.

On Saturday, June 22 at 1:00 p.m., Johnston’s band and a choir will take the outdoor stage to perform songs based on stories from immigrants. The official blurb goes like this:

“Letters to Home,” by composer Darren Johnston, with choreography by Erika Shuch, will be the inaugural piece for The Trans-Global People’s Chorus, a multi-generational choir that utilizes stomping, clapping and snapping along with vocal arrangements, and a stellar horn section. The songs feature a libretto composed by Johnston, using selected phrases from a collection of letters written by a broad cross-section of immigrants living in the Bay Area. The TGPC is composed of some of the top vocalists and performers around, such as up-and-coming Tiffany Austin, the Pacific Mambo Orchestra’s Alexa Morales, and jazz luminaires such as Howard Wiley and Jazz Mafia “don” Adam Theis, along with the incredible talents of the students of Oakland School for the Arts, High and Middle School, and Rooftop Middle, and Elementary School.

Judging from the songs Johnston performed at the Starry Plough recently, these songs will be a combination of jazz, world musics, and gypsy stylings, sometimes soulful and upbeat, sometimes outright heartbreaking. It seems to be a project close to Johnston’s heart, and it should make for quite a concert.

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