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Marcus Shelby (San Francisco) collaborating with Yerba Buena Arts and Events

Award: $35,000 Performing Arts Grant awarded in 2005

Premiere: summer 2007

Bass player and jazz composer Marcus Shelby, his ensemble, the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, and Yerba Buena Arts and Events collaborated to develop and premiere Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, an original secular oratorio for jazz orchestra. Prior to this project, Shelby had never written an oratorio–a form he chose because of Harriet Tubman’s relationship to song. He worked closely with several nonprofits, musicians, and scholars in developing the piece–among them Kate Clifford Larson, author of Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero. Shelby also worked with vocalists Faye Carol, Kenny Washington, Jeannine Anderson, and Joseph Mace.

Marcus Shelby is an award-winning composer, arranger, educator, and bassist, who is nationally known for his innovative, collaborative approach to composing and arranging for text, visual arts, dance, and theater. Yerba Buena Arts and Events is an acclaimed presenter of 100 or more free outdoor performances each year in the gardens adjacent to Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.