Fisk University was presented with the first annual Presidential Legacy Award during the banquet following the inaugural concert of the 105 Voices of History HBCU National Choir at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C on September 7.
The Presidential Award was presented to Fisk for its ongoing and long-lasting commitment to the music program. “In 1871, the original Jubilee Singers were concerned with saving their school. Little did they know they would be revered for introducing a new art song and choral genre to the world,” said Dr. Philip Autry, chair of the Fisk Department of Music as he accepted the award on behalf of the University. “We are proud of the legacy from this impressive past, upholding excellence in the present, and looking forward to a glorious future for all the institutions represented.”
The evening’s concert, hosted by award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, was the inaugural performance of the 105 Voices of History, a choral group comprised of music students from historically black colleges and universities around the country. The performance included songs such as “The Creation” by Franz Joseph Haydn, R. Nathaniel Dett’s arrangement of “Ava Maria”, “Elijah Rock” by Moses Hogan and Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise.” Representing Fisk in the choir was soprano Kelsey Porter, a Junior Vocal Performance Major from Memphis, Tennessee.
The banquet and concert followed the first annual HBCU Conductors Summit, held September 6, 2008. Fisk faculty members Dr. Philip Autry and Dr. Anthony Williams moderated and participated on panels concerning recruitment and retention and effective teaching styles, respectively. Fisk alumni in attendance at the workshop and banquet included Dr. Barbara Buck, Chair of the Kentucky State University Division of Fine Arts, Dr. Horace Carney, Interim Chair of the Music Program at Alabama A & M University, and Dr. Veda E. Butcher, Dean Emeritus, Howard University School of Fine Arts.
For information on the Fisk University Jubilee Singers®, please visit www.fiskjubileesingers.org. For more information on the Fisk University Choir, follow links on the Music Department page at www.fisk.edu.