Morgan production of 'Porgy and Bess' a reminder of the opera's Baltimore roots

March 27, 2012

With regard to the production of "Porgy and Bess" to be presented at Morgan State University ("Morgan State to stage 'Porgy and Bess,'" March 23), it is interesting to note that the role of Sportin' Life was created by Avon Long, who along with Anne Brown, creator of the role of Bess, were graduates of Frederick Douglass High School.

At Douglass, Brown and Long were taught by H. Llewelyn Wilson, Baltimore's most prominent black music educator. Wilson also taught at Morgan and was the conductor of the Colored Symphony Orchestra and Colored Chorus, which, along with the Colored Municipal Band and Colored Park Band, were funded by the Baltimore Municipal Department of Music. Anne Brown also appeared as a soloist with the Colored Orchestra.

Richard A. Disharoon, Baltimore

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