Reporting Ron Matz
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — He studied music with the late Dr. Nathan Carter at Morgan State University and went on to the Peabody Institute. This talented musician and composer is now bringing his music to the Hippodrome Theatre in honor of Black History Month.
Ron Matz has more on Darin Atwater’s “Evolution of a People,” a musical monument to African-American life.
A funny thing happened to Darin Atwater on his way to becoming an accountant.
“I finished high school in Durham, N.C., and I moved back here to go to Morgan State University,” he said. “I worked with my dad every summer in the accounting department at IBM, but my cousin was a singer who attended Morgan and she said, ‘You have to meet Dr. Nathan Carter.’ I met Dr. Carter and I played something for him, and he said ‘You have to be a music major. You have to change your major,’ and I did.”
Atwater became an accomplished musician instead– first playing the piano by ear.
“I grew up playing in church, hearing those African hymns. Just hearing that music I came home and tried to duplicate it. That’s how music got in my ears,” Atwater said.
His Soulful Symphony plays to sold-out audiences. Now a resident artist at the Hippodrome, Atwater’s “Evolution of a People” will be performed Friday night.
“We want to make music that comes from the American soil. We want to present that in a framework with the symphony because it’s the soundtrack to our lives. We all listen to country or rock and roll, hip hop or jazz. So why not create a canon of music for the orchestra that speaks directly to our times and our contemporary culture? Our mantra is we’ve taken an entire culture and set it to music,” Atwater said.
It’s a high energy show. You could say the same about Atwater.
“I think of it as a celebration of just the community coming together to express the best of who we are,” he said. “As musicians, we’re just telling a story. They’re out there co-signing, saying ‘Amen. That’s who we are.’ That’s what this is about. That’s what makes it special.”
For more information about Atwater’s Friday night Soulful Symphony performance at the Hippodrome, just click here.