Get Together (1970)
Sybil Kein (named Consuela Moore at birth) was born on September 29, 1939, in New Orleans to Augustine Boudreaux Moore and Frank Moore. Along with twelve brothers and sisters, she grew up in the seventh ward of New Orleans, an area historically inhabited by the jens du couleur (free men of color, or Creoles). Kein, a Creole of Color, (of Native American, African, and French ancestry,) spoke a French patois as a first language and recalls having a great deal of difficulty learning to speak English when she began grammar school.
She attended Corpus Christi Elementary, a school that historically educated the Creoles of Color of New Orleans. While in attendance at this private Catholic school, Kein studied dancing and music. She made her debut on the stage at the age of three when she performed at a dance recital. Though dancing intrigued her, it was from musical instruments, particularly the viola, that she derived a strong sense of self. She greatly admired the Creoles of Color jazz musicians of the seventh ward. Like them, she wanted to tell of the lives of Creoles of Color through music.
She continued the study of musical instruments at Xavier Preparatory School, from which she graduated, and at Xavier University in New Orleans where she earned a bachelor of arts in instrumental music in 1958. By then, Kein had mastered the viola, violin, cello, string base, guitar, and piano. She had also begun writing plays and poems and working on ways to complement them with Creole songs and music.
Kein's determination to succeed at a career was tested after the birth of her three children, Elizabeth, David, and Susan, and after her divorce. Always pushing herself to achieve, Kein enrolled at the University of New Orleans (formerly Louisiana State University at New Orleans) where she earned a master's degree in theater arts and communication in 1972. Three years later Kein graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor with a doctorate in American ethnic literature.