Composed and Performed by Students at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
The ascent of the chandelier in the Winspear Opera House will be accompanied by new music created and performed by students at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. The Moody Foundation Chandelier rises into the ceiling of the performance hall prior to each performance. This popular tradition will now feature a composition called “The Lights Are Rising” which was composed by Booker T. Washington High School senior Damoyee Janai Neroes and recorded by the school’s orchestra students. The project was created in partnership with and funded by the Center’s naming sponsor, AT&T.
“That moment just before the show, when the chandelier rises into the ceiling, is something our patrons love to experience,” said Debbie Storey, president and CEO of AT&T Performing Arts Center. “And given the Center’s strong commitment to arts education, we’re thrilled this music comes from young artists right here in our community.”
As audiences enter McDermott Hall, the Moody Chandelier’s 318 L.E.D acrylic light rods are extended in a tapered position with the longest rod stretching 40 feet. The chandelier is lifted just prior to a performance so that audiences seated in the upper balconies have an unobstructed view. Once fully recessed, the chandelier mimics twinkling stars in the night sky. The dramatic fixture is one of the most photographed and talked-about features at the Center. The chandelier was named in honor of The Moody Foundation in 2013 following a $5 million gift from the Galveston-based foundation. The addition of the new music is perfectly timed as the AT&T Performing Arts Center is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year.
AT&T awarded the Center a grant to provide a mentorship program for the composition students at Booker T. Washington. Over the course of their spring semester, 12 students participated in a series of master classes led by professional composers and music producers from Man Made Music. While learning about the process of commercial composition, the students and their mentors worked together to create exciting new music to accompany the chandelier, and the students learned how to run a recording session from beginning to end.
“The Winspear Opera House chandelier is such an audience favorite, which makes it an ideal platform to showcase music by local young artists,” said Charlene Lake, Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP, Corporate Social Responsibility, AT&T. “This perfectly aligns with AT&T’s commitment to community and education, and our company’s investment in programs that raise up underrepresented creative voices.”
The final piece chosen was composed by Damoyee Janai Neroes, a recent Booker T. Washington graduate and accomplished musician who has won numerous awards and performed in high-profile venues including the 50th Anniversary New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and The Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City. Neroes will attend the Berklee College of Music to major in film scoring and minor in music production and sound engineering.
“I am extremely thrilled that my composition was selected and grateful to AT&T PAC and the entire community of arts supporters, including patrons, artists and philanthropists, for their ongoing dedication and commitment to the arts,” said Neroes. “This is a huge honor for me as a young composer to have the opportunity to share my music with so many people. I hope to inspire other young composers to continue pursuing their passion for a career in music.”
Audiences will first hear the new music when the chandelier ascends prior to An Evening with Iyanla Vanzant on July 27.