Hartford Seminary

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Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 - hARTsem DAYS: Celebrate the Arts and Spirituality at Hartford Seminary

‘From Whence I Come’ Gospel Concert

Evelyn Harris photo

Join us for a special event to benefit the Chair in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at Hartford Seminary.

Women’s Leadership Institute graduate Evelyn Harris, an original member of the famed group Sweet Honey in the Rock, has organized a concert that highlights six pioneering gospel music composers from the first half of the 20th century into the genre’s heyday of the 1950’s and 60’s.  Along with an original composition by Mahalia Jackson, the world’s greatest gospel singer, and Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, the Negro National Anthem, we will celebrate these composers’ work.

Evelyn Harris brings this message of gospel music to people and places around the world to show the influence and impact this music has had on all African-American song forms to follow.  Please join her and pianist Dionne McClain-Freeney at Hartford Seminary to spread the good-news gospel all over the land!

Seating is limited for this special event. Advance tickets are $20. Tickets will be $25 at the door, if seats are still available.

NOTE: No paper tickets will be issued for this event. If you register and pay, we will have your name on a list at the door. 

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About Evelyn Harris

Evelyn Harris has dedicated her voice to giving depth and meaning to an extensive array of musical styles, creating stirring interpretations of African-American traditional and contemporary material, freedom songs from around the world, jazz, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel and blues.

Her 18-year tenure with the internationally acclaimed Black women’s acapella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock guided her studies as an artist, performer, arranger and composer. Her compositions include State Of Emergency (1988 Grammy nomination), and My Lament. With Sweet Honey, she recorded and co-produced ten albums on the Warner Brothers, Redwood, and Flying Fish labels.

Evelyn relocated to the Pioneer Valley in Fall 2002. For over three years, she directed the choir at the North Hadley Congregational Church and facilitated writing and singing workshops with teenage mothers through the Springfield, Mass YWCA. With an emphasis on the social, political and economic conditions of Blacks in America, she has taught “Introduction to African-American Music” at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School, MacDuffie School, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College and Westfield State College among many others. Evelyn currently directs “The Ku’umba Women’s Chorus” at the Northampton Community Music Center and VOICES of New Africa House at UMASS-Amherst. She uses singing as cognitive therapy with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients in several nursing homes in the area. During the summer, she is a vocal instructor at the Institute for the Musical Arts Rock ‘n’ Roll Girls Camp.

Evelyn tells a story of the struggle for peace and justice through songs that confess the reveries and fears of a people intimately affected by violence and hatred. She is widely respected for the mastery of her craft and her mentorship of young musical talent. “My life is full with abundant manifestations of good. Singing is my giving back with thanks and praise.”

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