Local Music

Published on July 14th, 2022 | by Nature Humphries


Damein Wash to Record Original Choral Compositions

Local Talent Invites You to Answer the Call to Adventure with “A kNight of Chivalry,” Plus a Free Concert

Beloved local musician Damein Wash, best known for his charismatic performances in The Soul Tones, has been hard at work on a master’s degree in music theory at The University of Mississippi. As he approaches the next step on his journey—a doctorate in composition—he must compile a portfolio to showcase his knowledge and skills.

Perhaps you enjoyed his recent music video for “Sky & Sea,” a short orchestral piece he recorded with nine musicians, socially distanced during Covid-19, which screened at the Oxford Film Festival this past March. Or maybe you’ve seen his impromptu classical piano recitals on social media.

Damein’s current endeavor is to record his original choral works with a group of professional singers, The Southern Vocal Collective, which consists of artists from around the region. The group came together in 2019, created in part by Dasha Teelin. Local members include tenor Adam Stringer, organist at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church; Ontarius Woodland, a tenor at First Presbyterian Church; and pianist/organist Creighton Holder, who is the new choirmaster at First Presbyterian. University of Mississippi professor of music Ricky Burkhead will handle audio recording.

For four days, approximately twenty singers will rehearse in Oxford to culminate in a free concert Friday, July 22 at First Presbyterian Church of Oxford at 7 pm. The concert will feature a performance of various choral works, including compositions by Johannes Brahms, Edward Bairstow, Norman Dello Joio, Alice Parker, and of course, Damein Wash, who will also serve as conductor.

To help with the considerable cost of creating this musical work, Wash teamed up with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council to produce an exciting event called “A kNight of Chivalry.”

At 7 pm on Wednesday, July 20, The Powerhouse Community Arts Center (413 S 14th Street) will transform into a fantastic, live-action representation of “The Hero’s Journey.” This journey, known as the “monomyth,” follows a narrative pattern common to many stories.

“Campbell basically said that all stories have the same running theme, the same tropes,” said Wash. “So, a lot of people who go into writing stories, books, films, read Joseph Campbell. I read … The Hero with a Thousand Faces [when I was writing my screenplay]. It’s very central to storytelling.”

Inspired by Campbell’s arc of the hero, Wash decided to create this special musical event as a fundraiser for the recording of his original choral works. Patrons will enter The Powerhouse to embark on a walk-through of the Hero’s Journey, accompanied by singers from The Southern Vocal Collective, local actors, and multi-instrumentalist groups The Old Ways and The Mockingbird Early Music Ensemble, while enjoying a feast of wine, mead from The Queen’s Reward Meadery, and meat provided by Homeplace Pastures, prepared by Tim Woodard of Little Easy Catering. Walk into the theater and behold The Memphis Armored Fight Club in full knight regalia sparring on stage!

“There will be constant singing and music the whole way, so it’s not like a concert where you have to shut up and listen,” Wash said. It’s more like a miniature Renaissance Faire. “There’s music over here, music in the next part of the journey, and around the whole room, so it will be very social, and there will be noshing. Costumes are encouraged!”

Tickets to A kNight of Chivalry are available online at OxfordArts.com for $55 (non-members) or $50 (YAC members). If you can’t make it to the event or want to contribute at any level to support Damein’s recording project, donations are warmly welcomed—just visit Damein’s website, dameinwash.com, or contact the arts council at 662-236-6429.

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About the Author

Nature Humphries is Editor-in-Chief of The Local Voice. Nature is originally from Vicksburg, Mississippi, but moved to Oxford in 2004 after spending time in the United States Navy. She has also worked in the restaurant industry for many years as a server and a bartender. Nature graduated from Ole Miss in 2007 with a degree in English and Modern Languages.

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