• WBGO Celebrates Black History Month with Every Voice & Sing!

    February 9, 2011. Posted by Brandy Wood.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    Michele Norris (2007 NPR by Stephen Voss)

    In celebration of Black History Month, WBGO will air Every Voice and Sing!, narrated by award-winning journalist and host of NPR’s All Things Considered, Michele Norris.  A collaborative production of EVT Educational Productions, Inc. and WBGO, this five part documentary explores the social and political context of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras which brought about the formation of historically black colleges and universities, and their singing groups.

    One story about the relationship between black choral music and a historically black college, told in Every Voice and Sing!, is that of Fisk University, which opened in Nashville in 1866.  By 1871, the school was in dire financial straits, so George L. White, treasurer and music professor at Fisk at the time, created a nine-member choral ensemble of students, known as the Jubilee Singers.  The group began a tour that year to raise funds for the university, but they ended up doing much more - they introduced ‘slave songs’ to audiences around the world and were instrumental in preserving the unique American musical tradition known today as Negro spirituals.  In the late 19th century, the group broke racial barriers in the US and abroad, performing throughout Europe and at Grant’s White House in 1872.

    Through other unique stories, interviews and performances, Every Voice and Sing! traces the development of black choral music, from early spirituals and work songs, to the evolution of blues, jazz, and gospel, through today’s world music and popular music genres, including Hip-Hop. The series explores  how Hollywood and Broadway have influenced a wider acceptance of the music, and highlights how artists including Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Woody Guthrie, Take 6, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, James Cleveland, Cissy Houston, and Kurtis Blow all connect to the black choral tradition.  The series culminates with a look at some current concert choirs, gospel ensembles and vocal groups.

    The writers and producers of Every Voice and Sing!, Eric V. Tait, Jr. and Ann S. Hayward, are familiar to WBGO listeners from their multiple award-winning radio series, Then I’ll Be Free to Travel Home, which aired last February on Jazz88.  DownBeat award-winning jazz pianist, arranger and composer, Onaje Allan Gumbs was responsible for the musical arrangements and scoring, while Duke Markos, technical director of JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater, provided sound design and audio engineering.  Drs. Roland Carter and James Arthur Williams were series advisors.

    BROADCAST SCHEDULE:

    EPISODE 1:  “EVERY VOICE: THE EARLY LEGENDS” - Sunday, Feb 13, 10:00am

    EPISODE 2:  “THE LEGEND GROWS” – Monday, Feb 14, 9:00am

    EPISODE 3:  “AND SING” – Tuesday, Feb 15, noon

    EPISODE 4:  “A DIFFERENT DRUMMER” – FEB 16, 8:00pm

    EPISODE 5:  “”A JOYFUL NOISE” – FEB 17, 2:00pm

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