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Harlem Gospel Choir

Friday, Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m., Yavapai Community College, Prescott. Tickets are $26; $36; $46; $56.

The Harlem Gospel Choir is the most famous gospel choir in America today. It travels the globe, sharing its joy of faith through its music and raising funds for children’s charities. The choir was founded in 1986 by Allen Bailey, who got the idea for the choir while attending a celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Cotton Club in Harlem. The choir presents the finest singers and musicians from Harlem’s black churches and the New York tri-state area.

The choir’s voices reflect the renaissance of Harlem’s culture and the true New York spirit of gospel. The Harlem Gospel Choir’s rich harmonies and dynamic sound is always unfettered, joyous and inspirational. More than just a style of gospel, the Harlem Gospel Choir is the original “real deal” straight from Harlem — the home of gospel music. Every performance is infectiously enthusiastic, a roller coaster ride of singing and dancing; a gospel celebration.

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Dan Sharayko photo

Paul Taylor

Australia Days and Didgeridoo Classes

Jan. 22 and Jan. 23, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior

One of the world’s most mesmerizing sounds is the growling, howling, haunting drone of an Australian didgeridoo. Traditionally made from tree branches hollowed by insects, it’s a challenging instrument to play, requiring discipline and a technique known as “circular breathing” to maintain a continuous drone. Popular with world music devotees, the didgeridoo is also a focus for meditation and spiritual healing — and you can learn to build your own facsimile, and play it, too, Jan. 22 and. Jan. 23 during the Australia Days weekend at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, just 40 minutes drive west of Globe-Miami.

Participants in the Jan. 22 class will craft a “didge” from PVC pipe and learn some of the history behind this aboriginal instrument, as well as basic circular breathing techniques taught by Australian folklorist Paul Taylor along with Aboriginal elder Paul Harney (traveling the U.S. with Taylor this winter). Saturday’s class is for beginners, and then Sunday morning is an advanced didge workshop for those who have already taken the beginners workshop, musicians who want a refresher course — and a chance to play and learn alongside a genuine Australian aboriginal musician and artist.

Each class is $50 (Arboretum annual members $40). Call (520) 689-2723 to enroll.

Jan. 22-23 events invite Arboretum visitors to pay a visit to “the land Down Under” without even leaving Arizona. Regular $7.50 adult daily admission includes 11 a.m. tours of the Australian plant collections and lessons about the history and ethno-botany of Australia from BTA staff and tour guide volunteers; don’t miss the towering 150-foot-tall Eucalyptus and Red Gum trees. Daily admission also includes a 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. storytelling session and didgeridoo concert featuring Paul Taylor and Bill Harney.

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