Southern Virginia University’s Bela Voce and Chamber Choir will join their voices and their hearts in “Jubilee!” at Chandler Hall on Thursday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m.
“This music has a story to tell,” said Dr. LaRae Carter of Southern Virginia’s music program.
It is a story of the South, a story of faith, a story of hope in a fairer land and a brighter tomorrow, a story of joy in the gospel, a story of the African-American experience.
Dictionary.com gives one definition of “jubilee” as “a black American folk song concerned with future happiness or deliverance from tribulation.” Another definition refers to a celebration. Thursday’s concert will celebrate future happiness and the present joyful, energetic spirit that spirituals and gospel music bring with them.
Dr. Margaret Gingerich and Dr. Carter will lead their choirs in such toe-tappers as “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel,” “Go Down, Moses” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Gingerich will also perform as soloist in John Rutter’s arrangement of the moving “Deep River.” Instrumentalists Ellen Cline, Kirra Hyde, Peter Johns, David Taylor and Michael Taylor will complement the singers on clarinet, percussion, bass and piano.
“Here in the South we have a rich, rich tradition of spirituals. It’s an important body of American music. It’s also important culturally. Spirituals and gospel music give people a chance to be joyful and to sing together,” said Carter. The audience will, in fact, have an opportunity to take part, following the African American tradition of learning and singing as a group.
Though both choirs have often performed spirituals in the past, this is the first time they have devoted a full program to them, and the students are enjoying it. Nate Pence, a tenor in the chamber choir, said it’s been a little different—and good for the choir members—to focus on so much music where they can “loosen up and have a bit more fun.”
“Jubilee!” is free and open to the public.