Jester Hairston Film Biography Featuring the Tabernacle Choir to Premier at the Conference Center Theatre

As part of Black History month, Riverton and Hillcrest High School Choirs and the Inspiration Choir from Calvary Baptist Church perform “A Tribute to the Spirituals”

SAN JOSE, CA. ­ 10 years in the making with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the film, Jester! The Amen Man, will have it’s Utah premier on Friday, February 20th at 7:00 pm in the Conference Center Theatre.  The film is a tribute to the remarkable Jester Hairston, the 20th Century father of the music known as the “spirituals”, The evening will include “A Tribute to the Spirituals” as part of the larger Black History month celebrations.

Combining the talents of the Riverton and Hillcrest High School Choirs , a 250-voice choir will perform a selection of Jester Hairston’s compositions under the baton of Donald Ripplinger, former Assistant Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  The Inspiration Choir from the Calvary Baptist Church, directed by Peggy Wright, will also perform a variety of Jester’s arrangements. The evening is a free community event.

Jester! The Amen Man is a lively and delightful feature documentary highlighting the life and contributions of the incomparable music composer, conductor, arranger, actor and US Goodwill Ambassador, Jester Hairston. This hour-long presentation is hosted and narrated by the legendary gospel and pop singer and actress, Della Reese (Co-star in Touched By an Angel). The film entertainingly weaves Jester’s own words and music, especially his appearance with the Tabernacle Choir and other choirs, feature film clips, and other stimulating material with elements of his fascinating career. It further details his untiring efforts to spread the history, cultural legacy, and traditions of the slave songs known as the “spirituals”. He was the primary voice that helped save the spirituals and promulgate this distinctly American music worldwide through his seventy-year career on Broadway, radio, feature films and television and the concert stage.

Tickets are free. For tickets call (801) 240-0080 or toll-free 866-537-8457 (866-LDS-TIKS). Tickets can also be obtained at the Conference Center Ticket Office (door 4) 60 West North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150.

The film’s producer, Bountiful native and BYU film graduate, Richard J. Hatch, is an independent producer/director/writer in California.  For 25 years he has produced a wide variety of projects in the documentary, educational, corporate and entertainment genres. He returns to Salt Lake where he shot Jester’s appearance with the Tabernacle Choir as the basis for the film in 1994.