The Year of Jubilee, 2016


A programme of old and new spirituals, telling the amazing story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers – a choir of emancipated slaves which set out in the 1860s to raise money for their university in Nashville, Tennessee, which was the only American university to admit black students at that time. They toured the United States and Europe and astounded audiences everywhere with the power and beauty of their music, the plantation spirituals and ‘songs of sorrow’ that had never been heard before on a public stage. In London, they performed before Queen Victoria and the Prime Minister and the great and the good of the land to universal acclaim, but they also performed at one of the ‘Ragged Schools’ in Hackney (a series of schools across the country founded for orphaned and poor children), where the pupils were so impressed that they started their own choir to sing the same kind of music. This, as far as anyone can tell, was the first ‘white gospel’ choir anywhere in the world.

Programme link