Fisk Jubilee Singers share traditional spirituals

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KALAMAZOO--The Fisk Jubilee Singers, an African-American a cappella group from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Western Michigan University's Dalton Center Recital Hall.

General admission tickets are $12, $10 for senior citizens, and $5 for WMU students with a valid Bronco Card. They are available at the door and through the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office at millerauditorium.com/som, (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858.

Formed in 1871 as a fundraising vehicle for Nashville's historically black college, Fisk University, the original Jubilee Singers made their mark performing old slave spirituals handed down from their parents. They broke racial barriers, touring throughout the United States and entertaining royalty overseas.

Later iterations of the group appeared on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry radio station, WSM, as well as an award-winning PBS documentary series, "Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory." In July 2007, the group went on a sacred journey to Ghana at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy. It was a history-making event, as the ensemble joined in the celebration of the nation's Golden Jubilee, the 50th independence anniversary. The next year, the all-student ensemble was selected as a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest honor for artists and patrons of the arts.

Today's Fisk Jubilee Singers continue the tradition of singing African-American spirituals around the world and have recorded a CD in the style of the original group.

The group's Feb. 15 performance is part of the Dalton Wed@7:30pm: Live and Interactive concert series presented by the WMU School of Music under the auspices of the Bullock Music Performance Institute. Concerts are held on Wednesdays and showcase guest artists, WMU faculty artists and ensembles, and WMU student groups. Each concert is preceded by a 7 p.m. discussion led by Dr. Dan Jacobson, WMU professor of music.

For more information, visit wmich.edu/music or contact Meredith Bradford, concerts assistant, at meredith.bradford@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4678.