Featured photo-Pianist and Composer Kory Caudill (left) and Songwriter, Recording Artist and Philanthropist Anthony “Wordsmith” Parker (right)
Written by Tanya Terry
Songwriter, Recording Artist and Philanthropist Anthony “Wordsmith” Parker recently talked to the Courier about the Concert for the Human Family, which hits Flint Saturday, April 22. The concert is being presented in collaboration with Pianist and Composer Kory Caudill.
Topics at the concert will range from police and justice, to killings in schools, to how Americans need to come together, to the government and loving one another based on character.
Wordsmith performs “Anthony’s Song” at the Concert for the Human Family, one of the many songs Wordsmith and Caudill wrote together. The artists learned more about the violent, racially motivated murder of British teenager Anthony Walker in 2005. Walker was tragically murdered with an ice axe when he was 18.
“It happening there shows racism definitely happens in America, but it’s also a broader issue that everybody needs to pay attention to,” said Wordsmith.
Wordsmith stated that when Caudill asked him to conceptualize the murder he wanted badly to do so, having been racially profiled himself.
“It’s tough to talk about a tragedy, but then we talk about how Anthony’s death was not in vain,” Wordsmith added. “A whole foundation was birthed out of it, and scholarships are given in his name.”
Among Wordsmith’s accomplishments is his current work with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. There, he has been able to write original pieces. He did an original Frederick Douglas piece and an original Juneteenth piece despite “classical music still being very much a white institution.” He has also toured, performed and taught in Africa three different times. This gave him an opportunity to do major concerts and learn about his history.
His music is a mixture of hip hop, spoken word, jazz, pop elements, blue grass elements and classical elements.
Caudill told the Courier that outside of the concert series he is not affiliated with the Episcopal church.
“They were doing some work as far as outreach,” Caudill said of the church. “They reached out and were looking for recording artists from all backgrounds.”
Caudill, who also played keyboards for country artist Justin Moore, has played in arenas with crowds of 10,000 people. However, he said he now measures his success by the impact he has on those who hear his music. For example, he noted at a recent concert in Spokane, Washington he was approached by a woman. She told Caudill she hadn’t been in a church or sacred space in over 20 years.
“She said I felt a sense of brotherly love I hadn’t felt in years,” Caudill said. “To me, that was worth the risk we took this whole concert series and all the work we’ve done.”
Through his business, Caudill says he takes pride in enabling other talented artists to make music “in an impactful and meaningful way.”
Caudill’s dad, Keith Caudill, will also perform at the Concert for the Human Family. Keith Caudill is an accomplished musician in gospel, with bluegrass-Americana roots.
Kory Caudill talked to the Courier about how other many other talented musicians became involved in the concert for the Human Family.
“I was already fortunate enough to be making music with most of those folks before the series began. When we dove into the Concert for the Human Family, we pretty much kept doing what we’d been doing, only with a much more defined purpose and new partners. I think part of what makes the shows inspiring is the fact that everybody on stage has a genuine love for one of another that predates the concert for the human family.”
The Concert for the Human Family takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, in Flint. For more information or tickets, visit https://eastmich.org/concert-for-the-human-family/