Sweet Briar College is celebrating Black History Month with its annual Gospel Fest at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in Memorial Chapel.
The evening will showcase local gospel performers, such as Ordained Voices of St. Mary Baptist Church, Debra Cooper, Unique Voices from Morning Star Baptist Church, Rita Kidd, the Central Virginia Community Choral Ensemble, Scott Zion Men’s Chorus and God’s Disciples. It will also feature the Sweet Briar Concert Choir singing the famous African hymn “Siyahamba” accompanied by members of the Sweet Briar Chamber Orchestra, who will play a variety of percussion instruments used in South Africa, such as djembes, djun-djun, dundun bambata and shekere.
“The performance of ‘Siyahamba’ by the concert choir was so spectacularly stirring at Christmas Vespers that [Chaplain] Dori [Baker] invited them to perform it again at this event,” said chaplain’s assistant Amy Payne.
The drums are a new addition, thanks to Sweet Briar Orchestra director Jeff Jones, who began teaching at Sweet Briar as a visiting assistant professor of music last fall. An accomplished percussionist, Jones recently traveled to Trinidad to participate in the 2013 Panorama competition for steel orchestras.
Another special treat is Endstation Theatre’s reading of an excerpt from the play “In Sweet Remembrance,” a work in progress by Washington, D.C.-based playwright Tearrance A. Chisholm. According to Endstation’s artistic director, Geoff Kershner, the play is a tribute to the significant role of the black community throughout Sweet Briar’s years as a plantation and college while exploring the cultural possibilities of its present and future. Commissioned by the College and Endstation, the play is being developed through the theater company’s Playwright’s Initiative and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Amy Payne at (434) 381-6103 or [email protected].