The Violet Hour

35 3Arts supporters
$5,317 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on April 10, 2020
    • 106% contributed

The Violet Hour is a musical production that explores the career of internationally acclaimed soprano Mary Violet Leontyne Price and her rise to prominence during the 1950’s and 60’s despite the prevalence of segregation and discrimination in America. Three years ago, I created a one-act version of this piece, which was well-received by audiences at the South Shore Opera Company of Chicago, Rochester Fringe Festival, and University of Notre Dame. I was thrilled to revitalize the story of this icon, but ever since I’ve dreamed of developing this piece further and staging it as a full production. I want to honor Leontyne, but I felt something was missing. So I asked myself: “How can I get Leontyne’s story to the level of excellence that she so deserves? What is next for The Violet Hour?” With this campaign, I have the chance to take that next step by organizing workshop readings with a professional cast and artistic team, which will enable me to shop this work to mainstage producers and theaters. With your help, we can expand people’s knowledge of Leontyne’s extraordinary contributions to opera and the music industry in this country.

About This Project

As an artist, Leontyne Price had a larger-than-life presence and a regal demeanor that inspired and touched people deeply, including myself. Early in my career I used to study performance recordings and interviews she gave. I knew I wanted to do a recital one day to honor her, but her story was also important to me as a single, Black woman, and entrepreneur. For me, Leontyne is the epitome of that. She is my idol and the person that I want to emulate in her singing style and range, as well as in the pursuit of her dreams. I started imitating her and mimicking her accent. I thought I’d love to play a role if there was one of her. I never thought I’d be the one to create it. 

The Violet Hour production traces Leontyne’s extraordinary journey from the beginning of her career to her final performance of Aida at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1985. For this performance she received a 42-minute standing ovation, the longest in the Met’s history. This piece is ready to be a complete dramatic work that reveals the full scope of Leontyne’s power and what it is to be a live artist of her caliber.

With funding from this campaign, I’ll assemble workshop readings with professional teams to refine and mount the piece. The first phase will be with a dramaturg, director, and music director to help shape the script and notate changes. Then I’ll hire a cast of singers and actors to learn the piece as key performers. Finally, I’ll bring the crew together for an open-book performance that will be documented and presented to possible producers. 

Ultimately, my job right now is to not give up on Leontyne and making this show all that I know it can be. We need to invest in this piece and her history and present it to an audience that will learn and appreciate the art that she brought to this world. Thank you so much for helping me bring more recognition to this important artist and her story.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Personal thank you on social media ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above plus your name acknowledged as a supporter in the printed program for the final read-through performance ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $150
    All of the above plus a signed, full-color poster from "The Violet Hour" production at the Rochester Fringe Festival ($140.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    All of the above plus an invitation for 1 to the final read-through performance with reserved seating ($240.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    All of the above, plus an invitation for 2 to the final read-through performance with reserved VIP seating ($490.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Above plus Co-Producer credit and open-access invitation to the entire workshop process and final read-through performance ($990.00 is tax deductible.)

Joelle Lamarre

Make a Wave Artist

Joelle Lamarre is currently part of the Freedom Ride cast at Chicago Opera Theater. This past fall (2019), Joelle was seen celebrating South Shore Opera Company of Chicago’s 10th Anniversary and the Chicago Humanities Festival concert Power Couples. Last …

View Joelle Lamarre's profile
  • Update 1: Introducing Jaret Landon as Music Director
    Posted on May 14, 2020


    Jaret Landon

    I am so excited to introduce to you Jaret Landon, Music Director for the Violet Hour Workshop.

    Jaret Landon is a composer/arranger, music director, and educator. He’s composed and arranged music for film, musicals, and recorded albums. Chicago theater credits include Nativity and Sanctified (Congo Square Theatre), Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Porchlight Music Theatre), The Gospel of Lovingkindness and Wonder in My Soul (Victory Gardens Theatre), Gem of the Ocean (Court Theatre), Crowns (Goodman Theatre), The Christians (Steppenwolf Theatre), Jabari Dreams of Freedom (Chicago Children’s Theatre). Other Regional credits include a 15th-anniversary new production of Crowns (Co-Production - McCarter Theatre and Long Warf Theatre) Black Odyssey (Denver Theatre Center, Denver CO.), First Wives Club (Pre-Broadway production - Chicago), Born For This (Pre-Broadway production - Los Angeles), Motown The Musical (1st National Tour - Oriental Theater Chicago, IL), The Christians, Wonder In My Soul (Baltimore Center Stage), The Black Clown (American Repertory Theatre).

    In December of 2014, Landon partnered with the Aids Foundation of Chicago to produce Celebrating the Holiday With Friends, featuring nationally known recording artists and actors - Tweet, Donald Lawrence, Pauletta Washington, E.Faye Butler, Felicia Fields, and a host of other phenomenal talent. This concert featured all original arrangements by Mr. Landon and proceeds were used to raise awareness and broaden the reach of Chicago-land testing facilities for HIV/AIDS. 

    In 2016, Landon also produced a sold-out intimate concert series, premiering his arrangements of songs by Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and Pete Seeger. 

    From 2014-2016 Landon served as an assistant orchestrator for Fox TV's Emmy-award-winning American Idol.

    In June 2017, Landon presented workshop performances of his English-language Opera entitled Strange Land in Chicago, IL. This opera tells stories of African American men who were victims of racial profiling, racism, and systemic injustices. Taking a look at the past and examining the events of the present, it leads audiences on a journey from hopelessness to awareness, inspiration, love and light. Embracing the rich culture of Black Music (spirituals, gospel, blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, house music, and hip-hop) and combining elements of classical music.

    In July 2017, Landon lost his mom after a courageous fight with cancer and in November 2017, lost his grandfather. To continue their legacies, and the legacy of his previously deceased maternal grandmother, Landon began building an Arts Center in his hometown of Fort Meade, FL. The Fort Meade Arts Center (FMAC) is designed to provide learning experiences and opportunities with a well-rounded and multi-faceted artistic, entrepreneurial, and musical environment to community members of all ages in Fort Meade, FL and surrounding cities.

    In December 2017, Landon collaborated with Platinum-Selling Recording artist Tyler the Creator to Music Direct and Arrange music for his NPR Tiny Desk Performance, which in one of the highest viewed performances from the series, garnering over 8 million views on YouTube.


    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Derrell Acon

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Sarah Kropski

    • Lidiya Yankovskaya

    • Michelle Lee

    • Daniel Schlosberg

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Amy hutchison

    • Robert Sims

    • Corinne Wallace-Crane

    • Adrienne Price

    • Julian Otis

    • Whitney Morrison

    • James Sanders

    • Tina Dexter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Eddy Lamarre Sr

    • Alexander Rothe

    • Dan Shore

    • Kyle Russell

    • Christine Jackson

    • Sermane Todd

    • Beverly DeckerBaar

    • Lois Moore

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Shareeke Nesi

    • Joelle Permutt

    • Mark Beasley

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Sharon Loeschen

    • Tina Dexter

    • Hunecke Norbert

    • Cheryl Fitzpatrick

    • Anonymous Supporter

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council