The Essence of Joy Singers, the prestigious chorale ensemble from Penn State's School of Music, will perform at Penn State Great Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22. The group sings sacred and secular music from the African and African-American choral traditions under the direction of Anthony T. Leach. The concert is free and open to the public; registration is required at http://essenceofjoy.eventbrite.com.
Essence has performed extensively throughout the United States, and international tours to Kracow, Poland; Prague, Czech Republic (2001), South Africa (2005), Taiwan, South Korea and Japan (2009); and Spain and France (2013) have provided an expanded focus for the choir. The choir has released five compact disc recordings: "The Soul of Essence" and "The Spirit of Essence," which features settings of African-American spirituals and traditional and contemporary gospel recorded between 1996-98; "Essence Live," which was released in February 2000 and features campus performances from April 1998 through October 1999; and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and "Our Gift in Song," special projects that commemorate the 10th anniversary of the choir and were released in December 2002.
The director and founder of Essence of Joy, Leach, is a professor of music and music education at Penn State. Leach teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral music education. Leach holds a doctorate in music education and the master of music degree in conducting from Penn State, and the bachelor of science degree in music education from Lebanon Valley College, Annville.