BY JERRY F. RUTLEDGEjrutledge@ledger-enquirer.com
TUSKEGEE, Ala. — The critically acclaimed Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir is launching its Spring 2008 Tour on Feb. 29. Through its several planned engagements, the ensemble is continuing a tradition of musical excellence.
“Music has played a significant role in the life of Tuskegee University from its inception,” said Benjamin F. Payton, Tuskegee University President. “We continue to remember and to celebrate the music of our heritage, past and present.”
The choir had its beginnings in the late 1800s, close to the time of the University’s founding. Students were enlisted to sing spirituals at weekly services in the school chapel. Even today, the importance of spirituals is conveyed through performances of the Golden Voices, including the upcoming tour.
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“A major portion of our program is devoted to spirituals, because this type of song played a central role in the survival of black people during the brutal days of slavery,” said Dr. Wayne Barr, choir director. “Through these songs, our ancestors gave vent to their unshakable faith in a loving God, their unbreakable will to affirm their humanity and their abiding hope in a day beyond the harsh circumstances of their lives.”
“Today, we sing so that these ancestors would not have believed and hoped in vain. We remember their pain, their sacrifice and vow to see their hopes fulfilled,” Barr continued.
The tour’s schedule is as follows:Feb. 29: Sea Island Presbyterian ChurchMarch 1: Hampton Street Auditorium, Walterboro, S.C.March 2: Wake Chapel Church, Raleigh, N.C.March 3: Hillside High School, Durham, N.C.March 5: Burlington Township High School, Burlington, N.J., Burlington Township Cultural Arts Center, Burlington, N.J.March 6: Resurrection Catholic Church, Moneta, Va..