Apollo Music

The Gathering:
A Collective Sonic Ring Shout


First practiced by enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and in the United States, a Shout (or Ring Shout) is an ecstatic, transcendent ritual in which worshipers move in a circle while shuffling, stomping, and clapping, creating an open space to collectively grieve, awaken joy as a source of liberation, and find love as a form of resistance.

This new evening-length program, co-presented by the Apollo, brings the ancestral gathering into a contemporary context, taking audiences on a sonic journey rooted in the tradition of call and response with a diverse array of contemporary multi-disciplinary artists.  

The not-to-be-missed event features the orchestral performance of Carlos Simon’s Amen!, Courtney Bryan’s Sanctum, and the New York premiere of Seven Last Words, a choral work by composer Joel Thompson containing seven movements, each of which quotes the last words of an unarmed Black man before he was killed. These works will be presented in conversation with original works from Nona Hendryx and Toshi Reagon and a new commission from Tony Award winner Jason Michael Webb, created to honor our ever-present need for a collective space of remembrance.  

The performance is anchored by the American Composers Orchestra, comprised of 60-members and a 70-voice choir of both professional and amateur singers from African American churches and choral ensembles in New York including Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir, Broadway Inspirational Voices, Convent Avenue Baptist Church Choir, and Sing Harlem Choir with appearances by the poet and writer Mahogany L. Browne and singer Abby Dobson.  

The Gathering will honor the lives we have lost and uplift the lives we continue to lead in the aftermath. 

In the tradition of the ring shout, audiences are encouraged to wear white.  

Co-Presented by the Apollo Theater and American Composers Orchestra  

Co-Curated with National Black Theatre 

In Partnership with Gateways Music Festival and Harlem Chamber Players 

Creative Concept and Direction by Jonathan McCrory 

The Gathering: A Collective Sonic Ring Shout is generously supported by Art for Justice and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, with additional funding from JPMorgan Chase.

Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Ticket Information

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Please contact the Apollo Box office at [email protected] or (212) 531-5305 if any other special assistance is required for your visit.

Half Off for Harlem

This event is included in our Half Off for Harlem promotion. Harlem residents, employees, business owners, and students can save 50% on tickets to select performances throughout the season.

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Joel Thompson: Seven Last Words of the Unarmed (New York Premiere)

Jason Michael Webb & Lelund Thompson: New Commission (World Premiere)

Courtney Bryan: Sanctum for orchestra and recorded sound

Toshi Reagon: New Commission (World Premiere)

Carlos Simon: Amen! (New York Premiere of orchestral version)

Check out Joel Thompson’s Seven Last Words of the Unarmed:

Media Partner:

The Gathering Community Partners

Learn more about the Gathering Community Partners who have joined us on this journey of discussions and presentations about important social justice issues.

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Covid-19 Guidelines

For the safety of our audiences and staff, all ticketholders and attendees of this event must provide proof of vaccination in order to enter the theater. In addition, all attendees are required to wear face coverings while inside the theater. Click here for more information about our COVID safety policies.

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