3:00pm Saturday, December 15, 2018

Tickets on sale now! Purchase here.

Angela Birchett, Soprano
Brianna Thomas,
Yancy Garcia,
Anwar Robinson,
Fort Washington Community Choir & Friends
Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra
Chris Whittaker,


Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah
Original Concept by Marin Alsop
Co-Arranged by composers Bob Christianson & Gary Anderson

Marin Alsop interviewed on NPR about Too Hot to Handel

Join us for Handel's Messiah like you've never heard before! This jazz/gospel/latin-infused production re-imagines the melodies and orchestration of Handel's famous oratorio in an electric two hour concert originally conceived by Marin Alsop of the Baltimore Symphony. Together, the United Palace of Cultural Arts, the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, Fort Washington Community Choir, and an all-star roster of guest vocalists will share an exciting uptown holiday collaboration that you won't want to miss! 


Angela Birchett is a dynamic stage and concert vocalist, seasoned actor and recording artist. She's been described as having "the skill of a master angel.” Angela is a classically trained vocalist and experienced educator. From her beginnings singing at her home church in Detroit, she followed her passion to study Music Education and Vocal Performance at Kentucky State University. As a member of the university's Opera Music Theatre Workshop, Concert, and Show Choirs, Angela performed in several productions and trained with renowned baritone, the late Andrew Smith and was mentored by legendary soprano, Wilhemenia Fernandez. Feeling a tug toward New York City, she transitioned into full time performing in 2005 and over the years has appeared in Broadway, Regional and Touring productions of such shows as: The Color Purple (2015 revival), Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Once On This Island, Rent, Ain't Misbehavin and Smokey Joe's Cafe, to name a few. Television appearances include Kevin Can Wait (CBS) and Blindspot (NBC).

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Born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, Brianna Thomas made her singing debut at the age of six with her father Charlie Thomas. By age 12 her talents and dedication propelled her to successes including guest performances at the Montreux, North Sea, and Umbria jazz festivals, as well as performances at venues ranging from the Bahamas to Geneva, Switzerland. In 1996, at age 13, she became the youngest person to be inducted into Peoria, Illinois’ African American Hall of Fame Museum. In 2001 and 2002 she was a resident in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center. In 2006 Thomas had her New York debut at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola during the Women in Jazz Festival. In 2007 she attended The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and in 2009 won the famed New York Jazzmobile Vocal Competition, judged by jazz icons Dr. Billy Taylor, Grady Tate, and Gloria Lynn. Since moving to New York, Thomas has performed in venues and festi- vals across the world, including the Sochi and St. Petersburg Jazz Festivals, the International Jazz Festival in Bern, Switzer- land, the Savanah Music Festival in Savanah, Georgia, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha, Qatar, as well as concert halls and venues throughout Israel, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Since graduating college in 2011, Thomas has performed throughout New York City, including at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, the New York Botanical Gardens’ summer concert series, Jazzmobile Summer Stage, the New York Hot Jazz Festival, Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, Smoke Jazz Club, The Iridium, and 54 Below. She also appears regularly at Ginny’s supper Club with her own band, The Brianna Thomas Band. Thomas has per- formed with artists such as world-renowned musician and composer Wycliffe Gordon, nine-time Grammy Award–winning per- former and educator Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, Dianne Reeves, Catherine Russell, Russell Malone, Marcus Printup, and Steve Miller. In 2014 Thomas released her debut album, You Must Believe in Love, and her follow-up release with The Brianna Thomas Band is on the horizon.


Yancy Garcia is a singer-songwriter originally from Upper Manhattan who strives to share with listeners the inspiration and impact she has received from so many artists who have come before her. Currently studying jazz at SUNY Purchase, she previously attended Harlem School of the Arts where she studied music theory, voice, piano, guitar, choir, dance, and theater. Yancy has performed for NBC, at Lincoln Center, and with Wé McDonald (of The Voice), and was the winner of the Little Kids Rock songwriting competition. Yancy was also a recipient of a scholarship to Berklee School of Music through their Little Kids Rock (LKR)/Amp Up NYC Music Program.


Anwar Robinson  is a recording artist, educator, front singer of a touring orchestra, choir conductor, and Artistic Music Director at the United Palace. Anwar also serves as Director of Academic Outreach and is a consultant for a private school where he develops advanced curriculum and creative arts enrichment programs that reinforce diversity, inclusiveness and community involvement. He is a successful independent solo recording artist and landed principal roles in the touring company of Rent the musical, Godspell, the original workshop of E. Lynn Harris' Invisible Life. He is most notably recognized for achieving a top finalist position on American Idol.


Chris Whittaker is a Washington Heights-based composer, conductor and pianist. His diverse musical fluency in classical, jazz, and gospel music melds genres and brings people together. Chris is the co-founder and Music Director of the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra and serves as Director of Music at Fort Washington Collegiate Church. He is also the founding music director of Marble Collegiate Church’s “Jazz Revelation” worship service. Recently he received a Bruno Walter Fellowship to attend the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and served as Associate Conductor for dell’Arte’s 2018 summer festival.

Fort Washington Community Choir, now in its third year, is an approximately 50 member vocal ensemble made up of singers and music lovers from around the Washington Heights, Inwood and Harlem neighborhood. As part of the music ministry at Fort Washington Collegiate Church, the ensemble rehearses weekly and presents 2-3 public concerts each year drawing repertoire from a wide range of traditional and contemporary classical music, multiple languages and traditions religious and non-religious alike. Recent projects include Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria,” Schubert’s Mass in G major, and works by living composers Chen Yi, Missy Mazzoli, and Jake Runestad, among others.

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The Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra wants to connect all of us into a communal listening experience – an experience that celebrates diversity, engenders civic awareness, and enriches lives. More than classical music, our orchestra strives to be a place that connects the best art across genres and cultures and reconnects people in community. Now in its fourth season, the WHCO is made up of professional musicians primarily from Upper Manhattan and presents chamber music, solo recitals, and orchestra concerts at their home at Fort Washington Collegiate Church.


Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah 
Concepto Original de: Marin Alsop
Co-arreglado por los compositores: Bob Christianson & Gary Anderson

El United Palace trae una nueva tradición navideña a Washington Heights con Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah. Con una infusión de ritmos latinos, improvisación de jazz y armonía evangélica, Too Hot to Handel ha sido calificada como "ingeniosamente re-imaginada" por el Chicago Tribune y "quizás la reinterpretación más ingeniosa y animosa del Mesías de Handel que jamás escuchará" por The New York Post. El United Palace agrega un ambiente de uptown único a la mezcla en una producción que presenta los sonidos coloridos y eléctricos de Heights. Entre los solistas invitados se encuentran Angela Birchett (The Color Purple, Smokey Joe's Café), Anwar Robinson (finalista de American Idol, Rent) y la actriz Yancy Garcia. A ellos se unirán el compositor / director de orquesta Chris Whittaker, la Orquesta de Cámara de Washington Heights, el Coro Comunitario de Fort Washington, y amigos.

Angela Birchett es una vocalista dinámica de escenario y concierto, experimentada actriz y artista de grabación. Se le ha descrito como teniendo "la habilidad de un ángel maestro". Angela es una vocalista y educadora experimentada de formación clásica. Desde sus inicios cantando en su iglesia en Detroit, siguió su pasión por estudiar Educación Musical y Ejecución Vocal en la Universidad Estatal de Kentucky. Como miembro de los coros universitarios de concierto, y de espectáculos, como parte de el Opera University Theatre Workshop, Angela actuó en varias producciones y se entreno con el famoso barítono, el difunto Andrew Smith, y fue guiada por la legendaria soprano Wilhemenia Fernández. Sintiendo una atracción hacia la ciudad de Nueva York, hizo la transición al desempeño a tiempo completo en el 2005 y a lo largo de los años ha aparecido en Broadway, producciones regionales y en giras de programas como: The Color Purple (2015 revival), Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Once On This Island, Rent, Ain't Misbehavin y Smokey Joe's Cafe, por nombrar algunos. Las apariciones en televisión incluyen Kevin Can Wait (CBS) y Blindspot (NBC).

Yancy Garcia es una cantante y compositora originaria del Alto Manhattan que se esfuerza por compartir con los oyentes la inspiración y el impacto que ha recibido de tantos artistas que la han precedido. Actualmente estudia jazz en SUNY Purchase, anteriormente asistió a Harlem School of the Arts, donde estudió teoría musical, voz, piano, guitarra, coro, danza y teatro. Yancy ha actuado para NBC, en el Lincoln Center, y con Wé McDonald (de The Voice), y fue la ganadora de la competencia de composición de Little Kids Rock. Yancy también recibió una beca para Berklee School of Music a través de su programa de música Little Kids Rock (LKR) / Amp Up NYC.

Anwar Robinson es un artista, educador, cantante frente a una orquesta de gira, director de coro, y director artístico de Música en el United Palace. Anwar también se desempeña como Director de Alcance Académico y es consultor de una escuela privada donde desarrolla programas de currículo avanzado y de enriquecimiento artístico para reforzar la diversidad, la inclusión y la participación de la comunidad. Él es un exitoso artista de grabación en solitario y obtuvo papeles principales en la compañía de turismo de Rent the musical, Godspell, el taller original de la Vida Invisible de E. Lynn Harris. Se le reconoce especialmente por lograr una posición finalista en American Idol.

Chris Whittaker es un compositor, director, y pianista con sede en Washington Heights. Su diversa fluidez musical en la música clásica, el jazz, y la música gospel combina géneros y une a las personas. Chris es cofundador y director musical de la Orquesta de Cámara de Washington Heights y se desempeña como director de música en Fort Washington Collegiate Church. También es el director musical fundador del servicio de adoración "Revelación de Jazz" de Marble Collegiate Church. Recientemente recibió una beca Bruno Walter para asistir al Festival de Música Contemporánea de Cabrillo y se desempeñó como Conductor Asociado para el festival de verano 2018 de dell’Arte.

Fort Washington Community Choir, ahora en su tercer año, es un conjunto vocal de aproximadamente 50 miembros formado por cantantes y amantes de la música de todo Washington Heights, Inwood y Harlem. Como parte del ministerio de música en Fort Washington Collegiate Church, el conjunto ensaya semanalmente y presenta 2-3 conciertos públicos cada año, tomando su repertorio de una amplia gama de música clásica tradicional y contemporánea, múltiples idiomas y tradiciones religiosas y no religiosas por igual. Los proyectos recientes incluyen "Gloria" de Francis Poulenc, la Misa de Schubert en sol mayor, y obras de los compositores vivos Chen Yi, Missy Mazzoli y Jake Runestad, entre otros.

La Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra quiere conectarnos a una experiencia de escucha comunitaria, una experiencia que celebra la diversidad, genera conciencia cívica y enriquece vidas. Más que la música clásica, nuestra orquesta se esfuerza por ser un lugar que conecte el mejor arte a través de géneros y culturas y reconecte a las personas en comunidad. Ahora en su cuarta temporada, el WHCO está formado por músicos profesionales principalmente del Alto Manhattan y presenta música de cámara, recitales en solitario, y conciertos de orquesta en su hogar en Fort Washington Collegiate Church.

United Palace, 4140 Broadway
December 15 | Show: 3pm | Doors: 1:30pm
Family friendly | 2.5 hours including intermission
Tickets $15 and up