For Black History Month, Pasadena church offers concert featuring African American spirituals

Eric Resendiz Image
Friday, February 16, 2024
Concert pays tribute to Black ancestors with 'Sorrow Songs'
A Pasadena church hosted a special Black History Month concert featuring African American spirituals called sorrow songs.

PASADENA (KABC) -- In honor of Black History Month, Saint Andrew Catholic Church in Pasadena organized a concert featuring African American spiritual songs. The music from the acclaimed bass baritone Michal Dawson Connor offered hope in a time of great sorrow and suffering.

Connor performed his own arrangement of Black spirituals known as sorrow songs, which convey the suffering and unjust treatment of enslaved people in the U.S. He said the songs are a part of his roots and wants to honor them.

"And I will tell you I can feel my ancestors tonight," Connor said.

These tunes relate to stories of despair and determination.

"This music that I am singing tonight was created while the slaves were singing in the fields," Connor said during the concert. "They were singing about looking for a brighter day, looking for place where they call home where they weren't mistreated and abused."

Father Marcos Gonzalez of St. Andrew said as a part of their monthly concerts, this special performance marked a reminder of a time a history.

"These particular hymns speak about a time of great sorrow and suffering of our nation's history of enslaved people," Gonzalez said. "We don't want to forget that so that it doesn't repeat itself."

Connor said while these songs come from pain, they also came from a place of hope from his ancestors.

"I am really happy to bring these anonymous people that most people will never know, but their heart lives on through me," he said.