Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir kicks off spring tour

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (February 6, 2009) - The Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir is kicking off its Spring 2009 Tour on Feb. 26 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The world-renowned ensemble is continuing a tradition of excellence and exposure to the masses.

Music has played a significant role in the life of Tuskegee University since its inception.  Founder and first president Booker T. Washington encouraged his instructors to teach the folk songs/spirituals to their students so that they might appreciate the beauty and resilience represented by them.

"We continue to remember and to celebrate the music of our heritage, past and present," said Dr. Wayne Barr, choir director 

The choir's beginnings are credited to Washington. In the late 1800s, Washington enlisted students to sing spirituals at weekly services in the school chapel. Under the leadership of the renowned composer and educator William Levi Dawson, the Tuskegee Choir rose to international prominence with appearances at Radio City Music Hall in New York, the White House (1932), Constitution Hall (1946), and a host of popular television shows. The 1955 recording, The Tuskegee Choir Sings Spirituals is still widely hailed today as one of the best recordings of spirituals. The choir has also performed at the request of national leaders, such as President John F. Kennedy and William Jefferson Clinton.

In 2006, the Golden Voices, led by Barr and accompanied by Lynda Garcia, produced a CD, Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit. The Spring 2009 Tour program includes works by Joseph Haydn, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Ticheli, Maurice Duruflé, Ulysses Kay, Adolphus Hailstork and William L. Dawson.

The tour's schedule is as follows:

    Thursday, February 26:  First Baptist Church Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tenn.

    Friday, February 27:  Imani Baptist Churchm Lexington, Ky.

    Saturday, February 28:  Shiloh Baptist Church, Columbus, Ohio

    Sunday, March 1:  Antioch Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio

    Monday, March 2:  Detroit

    Tuesday, March 3:  First Congregational Church, Battle Creek, Mich.

    Wednesday, March 4:  Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago, Ill.

    Thursday, March 5:  Witherspoon Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Ind.

    Friday, March 6:  New Sardis Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn.

For more information on the Golden Voices and to view video footage, go to www.tuskegee.edu/goldenvoices.

About Tuskegee University

Founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee University is home to approximately 3,000 students from more than 30 countries. The campus, a National Historic Site, is spread across 450 acres of that reach out to encompass another 4,500 acres of forest and agricultural experiment/research station spaces.

Tuskegee University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral, professional, master's and bachelor's degrees. It offers accreditations in: architecture, business, chemistry, dietetics, education, engineering, clinical sciences, nursing, social work, occupational therapy and veterinary medicine.