SPRINGFIELD – A diverse group of community members and organizations, led by York Mayo and Lee Hagon, have come together to plan and stage the Springfield Unity Festival, a one-day vocal music concert to promote unity and diversity in the Greater Springfield region on Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Springfield Symphony Hall.
The Springfield Unity Festival is the brainchild of York Mayo, prominent local volunteer and activist. Lee Hagon, Choir Director at Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, is also leading the effort.
A culturally-mixed chorus made up of 300 local singers, led by world-renowned conductor Dr. Raymond Wise, will perform spiritual, gospel and world music with themes of unity, harmony and diversity, including a Springfield Unity Anthem composed by Dr. Wise. The chorus will convene the day of the concert for a one-day practice session, followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m. A second local choir made up of 50 singers, Una Voz, led by Lee Hagon, Jay Adams, Ray Drury and Rafael Osorio, will also perform at the Unity Festival concert.
A website for the event, www.springfieldunityfestival.com
, was recently launched for information, updates and ways to get involved. Those interested can sign up for the 300-person chorus on the website, and tickets can be purchased through the website or will be available for purchase at City Stage.
Community partners of the Springfield Unity Festival include MassMutual Financial Group, abc40, Baystate Health, Balise Auto Group, and the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.
Additional events will be featured during Springfield Unity Week, the week leading up to the concert: People of various faiths will participate in a “music swap” three weekends prior to the concert; John Hunter, educator and humanitarian, will be the featured speaker at The Springfield Public Forum on Oct. 15; and Dr. Raymond Wise will lead an all-day music fest for 250 elementary school children on Oct. 17 at Putnam Vocational Academy. Additional information about these events is available on the event website.