Ballet Fantastique’s NEW LEGENDS Season culminates with a daring and unprecedented dance theater collaboration with the multi-year national award-winning UO Gospel Singers. In the premiere of The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet, choreographer-producers Donna Marisa and Hannah Bontrager re-imagine the spellbinding biblical story of a legendary woman (and lionhearted beauty) whose faith cuts through a world of danger and political intrigue—to a score of live rock and gospel music spanning the past two centuries.
Donna and Hannah will fuse and abstract diverse dance styles as a springboard for the story’s dramatic themes, showcasing the artistry and versatility of the Company’s critically acclaimed artists. UO Gospel Singers’ director Andiel Brown will lead the singers into new territory. And playful and poignant, Donna and Hannah’s uplifting new choreographic telling of this powerful legend will resonate with power and spirit.
Andiel Brown, Director of UO Gospel Choirs
Andiel Brown is director of Gospel Choirs and Ensembles at the University of Oregon. He received his high school diploma from Cleveland High School in Portland, Oregon, and his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oregon.
While a student, Brown was a member of the UO Repertoire Singers, Gospel Choirs, and University Singers, as well as a local favorite and spiritual leader on the Ducks football team. He served as an assistant director of the Eugene Gospel Crew, which then merged with the UO Gospel Ensembles.
Brown has considerable performance experience. He has sung with artists such as The Uncanny Sound Boys and Deandre Cole, and in 2004 he was the winner of the University of Oregon school-wide vocal competition, “Duck Idol”. Brown was also a guest choreographer for the University of Oregon cheerleaders from 2004-2009.
Upon becoming the gospel director at the UO, Brown set out to make the University of Oregon a national gospel powerhouse. He has done this through regional and national tours, and competing at (and winning) national gospel choir competitions, including back to back first place honors at the national Disney Gospel Choir Fest in Orlando, FL in 2010 and 2011.
Under his direction, the UO Top Gospel Singers made world history in March 2013 by becoming the first gospel act ever to make a public performance tour of The People’s Republic of China. They held 15 performances throughout China, including a special joint concert with the #1 Chinese choral choir, The Qingdao Teachers Choir, at the Qingdao Grand Theater.
The UO Gospel Singers
The University of Oregon Gospel Singers is an elite group of gospel musicians at the University of Oregon, lead by director Andiel Brown. It is one of only two for credit University Gospel Programs on the West Coast. The group is comprised of university students as well as members from the community who all strive to achieve musical excellence and unite to create joyful, uplifting gospel music.
Each year the group is invited to perform at numerous locations throughout the state and country including the Lincoln Center and World’s Fair. Performance venues of note include the Hult Center, Matthew Knight Arena, the Portland MLK Celebration, the Cuthbert Amphitheater, MacArthur Court, and the Disney Gospel Choir Fest in Orlando, FL.
In September 2010, the UO Gospel Singers competed in the inaugural Disney Gospel Choir Fest at Disney World in Orlando, FL. They were among the 12 best gospel ensembles in the country. They were the only group from west of the Mississippi as well as the only group affiliated with a school or university. It was through hours of practicing, dedication, hard work, talent, and unification as a team that the group was then named the champions.
In September 2011, the UO Gospel Singers returned to Orlando and won the Disney Gospel Choir Fest for the second year in a row. The group has since competed in many competitions throughout the region and country as well as travelled abroad to perform in China.