The voice of poets of the Harlem Renaissance will lift into song with Harlem Sings – A Tribute to the Poets of the Harlem Renaissance. The virtual event, featuring guest artists, mezzo-soprano Patrice Eaton and pianist Kyle Walker, will be at 7 p.m. February 1, via Zoom.  

The New York City-based artists will participate in a live discussion and Q&A with students after the recital. Find the program here.

The Harlem Renaissance mesmerized the United States from the mid-1910s to the 1930s with an embrace of African American creative arts—music, literature, theatre, and visual artistry. The cultural movement that sparked the Jazz Age also carried a rising demand for equality in the face of segregation, disenfranchisement, and violence against people of color. The Harlem Renaissance, with its ceremonial home in New York City, celebrated African American culture amid calls for change. 

Sponsored by Illinois State University’s Multi-Ethnic Cultural and Co-curricular Programming Advisory Committee (MECCPAC), the School of Music, and the School of Music Committee on Representation, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Harlem Sings – A Tribute to the Poets of the Harlem Renaissance will feature poetry from authors such as Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Georgia Douglass Johnson, Countee Cullen, and Clarissa Scott Delany.  

For more information, contact Dr. Justin Vickers of the School of Music at  

Patrice P. Eaton, guest artist 
American mezzo-soprano Patrice Eaton’s career in opera began as a member of the children’s chorus of both the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera. As a young artist at the Caramoor International Music Festival in 2010 and 2011, she covered the roles of Hedwige in Guillaume Tell and Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, and was a featured artist in the Bel Canto at Caramoor concert series.  

Most recently Eaton has performed with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center in the White Light Festival, the We Shall Overcome National Tour with Damien Sneed honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Amahl and the Night Visitors with Harlem Opera Theater, and Carmen with the Downtown Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, Eaton made her Carnegie Hall debut honoring the late Sylvia Olden Lee, followed by her debut with the National Philharmonic performing as a soloist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and The Morgan State Choir in Wynton Marsalis’ All Rise at The Strathmore, and performed the role of Pythia in the World Premiere of Nkeiru Okoye’s, We’ve Got our Eye on You with SUNY – New Paltz Opera. Eaton has performed roles across the United States, and at the Edinburgh International Festival, Athens Epidaurus Festival, and the Vienna Arts Festival.  

A graduate of the University of Kentucky, she is a proud member of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity and a Lifetime and National Board Member of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM, Inc.).  

Kyle Walker, guest artist 
A strong advocate for social equality, critically acclaimed pianist Kyle P. Walker believes music can speak to social issues better than verbal language can, the understanding of which he brings to both traditional Western repertoire and that of the living world-wide composers with whom he collaborates.  

As an advocate of social justice Walker is a founding member and chamber music director of The Dream Unfinished, an activist orchestra which supports NYC-based civil rights and community organizations through concerts and presentations. This season focuses on climate justice by featuring composers from communities recently and historically impacted by climate change. He also performs with the group Sanctuary Project NYC.  

His performances have been featured on media broadcasts including The Green Space at WNYC, WQXR’s Mcgraw-Hill Financial Young Artists Showcase, NPR’s Public Radio East, NPR’s 1A, and UNC-TV. He has been featured in solo recital at New York’s Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, and with orchestra in Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. In recent seasons he performed as soloist with the East Carolina Symphony Orchestra and presented solo and chamber music performances at Steinway Hall NYC, The Great Hall at Cooper Union, The House of the Redeemer, Birmingham Jefferson Concert Hall in Alabama, Tishman Auditorium, National Opera America, Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera, and the innovative music and multimedia venue Spectrum NYC.  

Walker holds a master’s degree in music from Mannes College, The New School for Music under the tutelage of Thomas Sauer. He holds a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University in addition to a special degree from University of North Carolina School of the Arts.