Bessie Smith Side-by-Side Symphony Orchestra Concert

Youth Orchestra
Side-by-Side Concert
MON 2/27/23
7:30 PM

Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Auditorium


Honoring the legacy of Blues legend Bessie Smith, who stood up for herself, her love, and her people when the voices were few: the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera (CSO), CSO Youth Orchestras (CSOYO), and a multitude of community choral groups team up to celebrate the Empress of the Blues on our annual Side-by-Side Concert! 

In this historic performance, the CSO and CSOYO will perform full orchestral arrangements of Bessie's music, commissioned by the CSO as part of the Bessie Smith: Orchestrating the Blues project.  Don't miss this unique opportunity to experience a powerful performance highlighting the soulful voice, relatable music, and vibrant career of Bessie Smith!

This performance will also spotlight compositions by other Black composers including widely celebrated local composer Roland Carter, and feature pieces that honor the defining contributions that Black artists have made and continue to make in American music, history, and culture.


Ismael Sandoval conductor
Neshawn Calloway vocalist

Voci Virili Men's Consort
Harv Wileman | director

Voices of Reason Women's Ensemble
Harv Wileman | director

Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African-American Song
Michael Mitchell | director

The BATTLE Ensemble
Jerone Devonte | president of the BATTLE Association

Center for Creative Arts Choirs
Neshawn Calloway | director

The Bessie Smith: Orchestrating the Blues Side-by-Side Concert is just one part of a multi-layered project honoring the life and works of Bessie Smith with events taking place throughout February and March 2023.