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December 05, 2021

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Fisk Jubilee Singers Celebrate 150 Years with Benefit Show at The Ryman

Special Musical Guests to Include Dr. Bobby Jones, Jason Eskridge, Ruby Amanfu, Natalie Hemby, Brassville, Rissi Palmer, Kyla Jade, Tommy Sims, Starlito and Curt Chambers.

To honor their history as Nashville’s earliest ambassadors of music and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ensemble, the Fisk Jubilee Singers will host and perform at a benefit concert in the historic Ryman Auditorium on Thursday, November 11, 2021. The show will take place just over one month after their official anniversary on October 6. Tickets are on sale now. 

“This has been an extraordinary year, and we are so excited about the future of the Fisk Jubilee Singers,” said Dr. Jens Frederiksen, Executive Vice President, Fisk University. “The voices of the Fisk Jubilee Singers have inspired generations across the country and the world, and today’s ensemble continues to exemplify everything that makes Fisk University such a special place.”

A significant part of Nashville’s history since 1871, the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers will be celebrating this milestone through performances of their traditional repertoire of spirituals with a stacked lineup of talent including Jason Eskridge, Ruby Amanfu, Natalie Hemby, Brassville, Rissi Palmer, Kyla Jade, Tommy Sims, Starlito, Curt Chambers and Dr. Bobby Jones. Marcia Dyson, founder of Women’s Global Institute, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. Shannon Sanders, the Grammy, Emmy and Dove award-winning producer, will serve as co-musical director for the concert with Musical Director and Fisk Jubilee Singer Alumnus Dr. Paul T. Kwami.

Earlier this year, the Fisk Jubilee Singers received their first Grammy Award for Best Roots Gospel Album, making Fisk University the first Historically Black College & University (HBCU) to receive a Grammy. They were also honored with the Rhapsody and Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music and a Dove Award nomination. A $1.5 million anonymous donation, one of the largest in the Fisk Jubilee Singers’ history, was gifted to the ensemble. The donation will help to establish a permanent endowment named after Dr. Kwami and will provide a foundation to further support artistic projects and recruit future generations of extraordinary talent.

“Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Fisk Jubilee Singers is an incredible milestone,” said Butch Spyridon, President and CEO, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “We are honored to support this event and the singers who first started exporting music from Music City all those years ago.”

The Fisk Jubilee Singers were organized as a choral ensemble in 1871 and played an important role in introducing and sustaining the tradition of the Negro spiritual to the world. The ensemble traveled throughout the world in the 1800s, singing songs that were sacred to them and raising money to support Nashville’s Fisk University. The group still travels globally, representing not only Fisk University but also Music City. The ensemble is comprised of Fisk University students, who are selected annually through an audition process.

For more information, visit fiskjubileesingers.org.

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing and Entertainment Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 18-month-old Ezra.