York music grad part of music celebrations for Barack Obama

York music grad Trisha Dayal Gunpath (BFA Spec. Hons. ’01) is in Washington, DC to perform with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, a Canadian choral music ensemble, in celebrations surrounding the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as America’s first African-American president.

Dayal Gunpath is a soprano with the 21-member, multicultural choral group that specializes in Afrocentric music. The Nathaniel Dett Chorale will give a 40-minute concert this morning at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian as part of musical celebrations of Martin Luther King Day and the presidential inauguration. The chorale is the only Canadian ensemble to participate in the festival. The choir will then perform outside the Canadian Embassy tomorrow as part of Inauguration Day celebrations. The Canadian Embassy, is situated on Pennsylvania Avenue, right on the Inauguration Day parade route. 

Both performances are part of the Out of Many three-day festival, inspired by Obama’s election night speech

“We are profoundly honoured by these invitations,” says the chorale’s founder & artistic director, Brainerd Blyden-Taylor. “The Nathaniel Dett Chorale has always sought to dissolve barriers of stereotype, to empower and inspire through the unity of music and celebration. We are touched that our performances in Washington are considered to be a tribute from Canada to the American people at this remarkable time in their history.”

Dayal Gunpath began her singing career with the Toronto Children’s Chorus, directed by Jean Ashworth Bartle, in 1990. After graduating from the vocal music program at Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, Dayal Gunpath studied at York University under Canadian voice instructor, composer and tenor Albert Greer. While at York, Dayal Gunpath sang with the ensemble Wibijazz’n’, as well as various other York University Concert Choirs.

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale is Canada’s first professional multicultural choral group dedicated to Afrocentric music of all styles, including classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues. The 21 members of the choir are classically trained vocalists who have shared the stage with internationally recognized artists such as Juno Award-winning jazz pianist Joe Sealy, opera star Kathleen Battle, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The choir has performed for world leaders such as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale will follow up next week’s Inauguration Day performance with a series of Canadian performances as part of Black History Month. For more information and for a listing of performance dates, visit the Nathaniel Dett Chorale Web site.