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Wyclef Jean, Darin Atwater And Soulful Symphony Collaborate To Reimagine Musical Traditions For Preakness 145

·7 mins read

The Grammy Award-Winning Musician and Atwater's Orchestra Will Transform the Legendary Race's Entertainment Programming

BALTIMORE, Oct. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Stronach Group, owners of the legendary Preakness Stakes, together with 1/ST LIVE, leaders in blending the worlds of sports, entertainment and hospitality through uniquely curated events, announce a wholly reimagined entertainment experience for Preakness 145. 1/ST LIVE has partnered with Baltimore's own Darin Atwater, who will serve as this year's Preakness Creative Director. Atwater founded Soulful Symphony in 2000, an orchestra made up of predominantly Black and Latinx musicians who perform a mash-up of Atwater's original compositions along with American Roots Music, covering every conceivable style and genre. Atwater will arrange, orchestrate and oversee the performance and musical transformation of traditional musical Preakness moments, including the National Anthem, Riders Up and the iconic Call to Post.

Joining Atwater and Soulful Symphony will be three-time Grammy Award-winning rapper, songwriter and producer, Wyclef Jean. Wyclef - solo superstar and guiding member of hip-hop group, the Fugees - has been a consistently powerful pop culture force for over two decades. He will lend his extensive expertise and creativity to help revamp Riders Up, a race day favorite that signals to the jockeys to mount their horses. Wyclef, Atwater and Soulful Symphony will also use the time and platform that would have been provided for the "Maryland, My Maryland" performance to instead reimagine the musical traditions of the Preakness with a unique and inclusive piece curated for Preakness 145.

Call to Post, the iconic tradition that signals the start of the race, will be presented for the first time as a contemporary mash-up in collaboration with Brian Newman, American jazz musician and Lady Gaga's band leader, and the Maryland Jockey Club's own trumpet duo, Sam Grossman and Beth Dixon. Newman is an acclaimed trumpet player who has performed with the likes of Tony Bennett and Mark Murphy.

"Since 1873, Preakness has been an American institution, built on tradition with an eye towards the future," said Atwater. "This fusion of tradition and innovation is a hallmark of Soulful Symphony's mission. These reimagined versions of some of the Preakness' long-standing values -- whether it's creating a unique piece of music that documents Maryland's rich varied history and diversity or incorporating musicians from the city -- are a celebration of Baltimore. Preakness has always been known as "The People's Race," and we want to pay respect and homage to those who have made Preakness what it is today as well as highlight how the contributions of African-American jockeys were seminal in its beginning."

Traditionally coinciding with National Military Day on the third Saturday of May, Preakness will move forward with a full day of programming that honors and celebrates branches of the United States military. Beginning the morning of the race, the program will start with the Presentation of Colors by the United States Cyber Command, National Security Agency/Central Security Service Joint Service Color Guard, and the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner by the United States Navy. The Joint Service Color Guard will also present the coveted Woodlawn Vase, transporting the trophy to the cupola winner's circle where it will await the winner of the 145th Preakness Stakes (G1). Concluding the military program will be a second Presentation of Colors by the Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion before moving into Soulful Symphony's performance of the National Anthem live on NBC to kick off the broadcast.

"Preakness 145 was an opportunity for us to take a step back and challenge ourselves, especially as the world looks a bit different than it did last year," said Jimmy Vargas, Executive Vice President, Entertainment, 1/ST LIVE. "We are thrilled to partner with Darin and Soulful Symphony and to have Wyclef Jean and Brian Newman bring Preakness traditions to life in an innovative way and to move forward with new traditions that are inclusive of people of all generations and backgrounds."

Preakness 145, taking place on Saturday, October 3 will proceed without live spectators. Fans will be able to experience the excitement live on NBC from 4:30 p.m.6:00 p.m. ET. In addition to the musical performances and races, viewers can expect virtual celebrity appearances from actor and host Mario Lopez, TV host and stylist Jeannie Mai, actor JB Smoove, and singer-songwriter Kandi Burruss who will share their Preakness picks and at home celebrations.

Wagering on Preakness 145 can be enjoyed regardless of where fans are viewing the race day card with handicapping tools available on the 1/ST BET app. Part of the 1/ST TECHNOLOGY suite of handicapping and betting products, 1/ST BET is changing the game by delivering a user-friendly experience that suits everyone from the experienced horseplayer to the first-timer.

For more information about Preakness, please visit www.preakness.com or follow the excitement on social media @PreaknessStakes and #Preakness.

About The Stronach Group and 1/ST
The Stronach Group is a world-class technology, entertainment and real estate development company with Thoroughbred racing and pari-mutuel wagering at the core. The company's consumer facing brand 1/ST (pronounced "First") powers The Stronach Group's forward-thinking 1/ST RACING, 1/ST TECHNOLOGY, 1/ST LIVE and 1/ST PROPERTIES businesses, while advocating for and driving the 1/ST HORSE CARE mission. 1/ST represents The Stronach Group's continued movement toward redefining Thoroughbred racing and the ecosystem that drives it. 1/ST RACING drives the best-in-class horse racing operations at the company's premier racetracks and training centers including: Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields and San Luis Rey (California); Gulfstream Park – home of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, and Gulfstream Park West (Florida); the Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course - home of the legendary Preakness Stakes, Rosecroft Raceway and Bowie Training Center (Maryland). 1/ST TECHNOLOGY is horse racing's largest racing and gaming technology company offering world-class products via its AmTote, Xpressbet, 1/ST BET, XB SELECT, XB NET, PariMAX, Betmix, Monarch and XBTV brands. 1/ST LIVE blends the worlds of sports, entertainment and hospitality by delivering uniquely curated events such as InfieldFest and Pegasus LIV Stretch Village. 1/ST PROPERTIES is responsible for the development of the company's live, work and play communities surrounding its racing venues including, The Village at Gulfstream Park (Florida) and Paddock Pointe (Maryland). As the advocate for critical industry reforms and by making meaningful investments into aftercare programs for retired horses and jockeys, 1/ST HORSE CARE represents The Stronach Group's commitment to achieving the highest level of horse and rider care and safety standards in Thoroughbred racing on and off the track. For more information please visit www.1st.com.

About Soulful Symphony
Soulful Symphony has become the benchmark for innovation and diversity. It has broadened the audiences engaging in music in the concert hall, literally redefining the symphony experience all while contributing to the canon of American Roots music. The result is a uniquely American orchestra of national stature. Founded in 2000, Soulful Symphony is transforming music as we know it. This disruptive force is bringing to life the music that's been nested in America's soil-everything from gospel to jazz to hip-hop to spiritual to blues and country - literally reinventing the symphony orchestra in America with performances that leave audiences wanting more of its distinctly American sound. As of 2019, Soulful Symphony became Merriweather Post Pavilion's resident symphony, beginning a new era for both the acclaimed orchestra and iconic music venue in the heart of Downtown Columbia, MD's, Merriweather District.

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SOURCE The Stronach Group