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‘Trailblazers’ concert pays tribute to historic Black female composer 

Manchester Symphony Orchestra showcases youth competition winners March 13

Manchester Symphony Orchestra is celebrating “Trailblazers” in its first concert of 2022.

It is 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Indiana.

The concert features Symphony No. 1 in e minor written by Florence Price, the first African-American woman to have a composition performed by a major symphony orchestra.

Dr Debra Lynn photoHer trailblazing symphony originally “premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Frederick Stock at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair,” said MSO Conductor Debra Lynn. “Price was a domestic abuse survivor and single mother who had experienced extreme poverty and homelessness. Her life and legacy have become a great inspiration to women composers and composers of color around the world.”

Lynn carefully curates Manchester Symphony Orchestra concerts to include works by women and others who have historically not been well-represented in the world of symphony. She selects musical pieces and features artists from a broad spectrum.

“Trailblazers” also marks the return of the MSO Young Artists Concerto and Aria Competition after six years.

Three performers were selected to perform as soloists during the concert:

  • Andre Burns, a senior at Merrillville High School, will perform Édouard-Victoire-Antoine Lalo’s aria Vainement Ma Bien Aimée.
  • Lydia Kelly, a senior biology-chemistry major at MU, will perform Rosauro’s Concerto No. 1 for Marimba and Orchestra, Movement IV, Despedida.
  • Ben Morton, a sophomore at Homestead High School, will perform Saint-Saens’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in g minor, Op. 22, Movement 1.

    Tickets are $15 general admission: free for MU students, faculty and staff with Manchester ID and anyone age 18 and younger. Masks, proof of vaccination and proof of a negative COVID test are not required at Honeywell venues.

    Visit for a link to purchase tickets.

    MSO 83Lynn is director of choral and vocal studies at Manchester University. A composer who will be conducting for the third time this spring at Carnegie Hall, she is a collaborative musical storyteller. 

    The Manchester Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1939 through a partnership with the people of Wabash County and what was then Manchester College. It thrives today as a core component of the rich performing arts culture in the region. Its members are a mix of professional and community musicians, Manchester students and several high school students.

    The “Trailblazers” concert is sponsored by MPS Egg Farms.

    For the media

    More about Dr. Lynn