Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Celebration of Negro Spiritual Music in T-U Center Sunday

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Celebration of Negro Spiritual Music in T-U Center Sunday

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN CARTER

The song says to lift every voice and sing.

That's exactly what will happen when several choruses and a host of musicians join forces to present "Sacrifice and Liberation," a community celebration of the spiritual.

It's set for 3 p.m. Sunday in the Jacoby Symphony Hall of the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, 300 W. Water St. It's being presented by the Ritz Chamber Players in conjunction with the Riverside Fine Arts Association.

The performance will also feature the Ritz Voices, the Don Thompson Choral, the Masterworks Choral and choruses from the Paxon School for Advanced Studies, Edward Waters College, Edward Waters College Alumni Choir, Florida Community College at Jacksonville and others.

The show will open with a choir performance of the popular anthem Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, written by two Jacksonville songwriters, brothers James Weldon and John Rosamond Johnson.

"Sacrifice and Liberation" will be directed by Herbert Jones, artistic director of the Oxford Civic Chorus and assistant director of choral activities at the University of Mississippi. The show will feature Negro spirituals popular during the era of slavery and progress toward the spirituals of liberation popular during the era of the Underground Railroad.

Terrance Patterson, founder and artistic director of the Ritz Chamber Players, said putting the concert together has been a labor of love.

"This concert blossomed into a beautiful community effort between many of Jacksonville's very fine organizations in celebration of something that is uniquely American," he said. "I don't think anyone in the audience will leave without feeling uplifted."

Patterson said it's only fitting the concert open with a song a penned by Jacksonville's Johnson brothers, who not only wrote dozens of songs, but also published two books on African-American spirituals.

"If I'm out of town and somebody mentions them [the Johnson brothers], I always say, 'Hey, they're from Jacksonville you know -- and so am I. …

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