Soulful Symphony on stage before showtime

“There are different rules of etiquette.”

Trailblazing conductor Darin Atwater sets the tone for an evening with his brainchild, Soulful Symphony.

Soulful Symphony is an 85-member orchestra with vocals comprised mostly of African American and Latino musicians. On its 15th anniversary, the group returns to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore where it played its inaugural concert.

Throughout the night there are several exclamations of “YASSS!!!” from the crowd.

Soulful Symphony program

Soulful Symphony program



Soulful Symphony on stage before showtime

Soulful Symphony before showtime





The group entertains with a dozen spiritual and contemporary songs before intermission, including selections from the Emmy Award-winning Song in a Strange Land. Darin takes to the piano to perform Wednesday Night Devotion, an homage to his grandmother.

Darin teasingly warns, “We’re about to do some hip hop, don’t leave. It’s gonna be OK.” He recounts a previous performance in jeans and Timberland boots. Christian rapper Swoope arrives to a polite, reserved welcome. By the time he leaves, he garners energetic applause and yells of Swoooooooope!

Fresh off the Washington National Opera’s production of Appomattox, bass Soloman Howard has GROWN women (all of your aunties) swooning with his rendition of Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come. From the opening chords of Superstition, Kenneth Alston has the chorus (and himself) dancing to the Stevie Wonder hit.

R&B superstar Ledisi kicks off the second half with a wondrous tribute to Nina Simone and a stunning canary yellow lace gown. She channels Nina through Feeling Good, I Love You Porgy and I Put A Spell on You. She melodically contorts her voice to convey every ounce of emotion.

Amazing Grace was, well, amazing. The gospel portion of the evening has people in aisles, kids singing along and shouts of appreciation from concertgoers. After invoking the Holy Spirit, the encore mellows the audience with a warm and fuzzy version of It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.

If you EVER have the opportunity to experience Soulful Symphony, snatch it.

How did the last music concert you attended make you feel? Leave your response in the comments below.


lyricfancy uses music as a conduit to humorously discuss human nature. This article is in no way a personal judgment about the artist. We believe in creative expression.

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