Scott Joplin Orchestra coming to town

By Becky Mayad

The African American Museum, Dallas (AAM) will present An Evening with Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra of Houston on Saturday, April 30, at 5 p.m. at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, 1309 Canton St. in Dallas. 

The Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra, formed in 1983, is one of the nation’s oldest contemporary majority African-American community orchestras.
Photo courtesy of the AAM

The orchestra’s sixth Dallas appearance is in memory of revered musician, accompanist and educator Billie K. Roberts. Sponsored by the African American Museum’s Friends of Music, the event benefits the Youth Programs of the AAM. Tickets – $15 and up with a limited number of VIP tickets at $75 each – are available at the Museum and 

One of the nation’s oldest contemporary majority African-American community orchestras, the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra (SJCO) was formed in 1983 under the umbrella of the nonprofit Community Music Center of Houston (CMCH). 

Founder and Music Director Anne Lundy says its three purposes are to give African American instrumentalists opportunities to perform together; to explore and perform music written by Black composers; and to be an example to the Black community that orchestras can include people that look like them.

Since its inception, the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra has performed mainstream works such as Handel’s Messiah as well as significant, lesser-known music by Black composers. These pieces have included works by African Americans, African-French, African-English and African-born composers, some of them world-premiered by SJCO. Though most performances have been held in Black churches, a few concerts have been performed in renowned venues.

The SJCO evolved from Lundy’s awareness that African American musicians rarely get the opportunity to play in string orchestras and her revelation that there were many pieces written by Black composers for orchestras, yet seldomly performed in front of an audience.

One of the African American Museum Youth programs is the Children’s Choir. 

The Choir was established as a result from the Museum’s long-running, award-winning Summer Camp. 

The Children’s Choir is dedicated to the philosophy that through the learning and performance of excellent choral literature, the lives of the choir members, as well as the lives of their families and the community, will be enriched artistically and personally. 

For more information, go to or call 214-565-9026.