‘Steal Away’ as Tryon Fine Arts Center presents a spiritual experience Sept. 24

Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On Saturday, Sept.24, Tryon Fine Arts Center presents the African-American Spiritual with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Spiritual Ensemble.
This 35-member ensemble is the outcome of its sister organization, the CSO Gospel Choir. Both are derived from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and focus on the spiritual, the voice of generations of African-Americans.

Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Spiritual Ensemble performs “Circa 1871: an Ode to The Fisk University Jubilee Singers” at Tryon Fine Arts Center Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.

Now in its third season, the CSO Spiritual Ensemble strives to honor the devout musical tradition that African-Americans formed as slaves after arriving in this country and, in particular, its relevant history in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Created out of suffering and survival, pain and celebration, spirituals reflect the ingenuity and faith of Africans held in bondage on Southern American shores. Spirituals are a musical form indigenous to the experience of Africans transported as slaves from Africa to America. Songs of protest, pain and celebration, this major musical genre in the history of American music was proclaimed the official music of the state of South Carolina by its General Assembly in July of 1999.
Under the direction of Nathan L. Nelson, the CSO Spiritual Ensemble will honor the Fisk University Jubilee Singers. In 1871, this nine-member choral ensemble of African-American students introduced the spiritual to audiences throughout the United States and the world in an effort to save their university from dire financial straits.
Though the sacred music was initially received with skepticism, the emotion, strength, and beauty characteristic of the spiritual overcame these reservations from predominantly white audiences and raised needed funding for the first American university to offer a liberal arts education for men and women of color.
The Jubilee singers have remained active for 140 years, still maintaining a busy performance schedule.
The single performance of the CSO Spiritual Ensemble at Tryon Fine Arts Center is 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 and presented with support from TD Bank, N.C. Arts Council and Polk County Community Foundation.
Tickets for the event are available at the TFAC box office Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. -1 p.m. For more information, please call 828-859-8322 or visit www.tryonarts.org.
– article submitted by Marianne Carruth

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