Vox Holloway Choir Performing at the Hackney Empire
One of the Governors of Our Lady's is performing with his choir in 'Freedom Song', a story about a group of former slaves from Tennessee who raised money for the first black university established after emancipation; Fisk University.
The story is an extraordinary one and a real slice of local history. It recounts the courage of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a group of former slaves from Tennessee, who formed a choir in 1870 to raise money for Fisk University, the first black university established after emancipation. Battling racism and poverty, they slowly established a reputation and, in 1873, came to the UK where they thrilled audiences with their Gospel music, spirituals and freedom songs. Incredibly they were invited to sing for Queen Victoria, Gladstone and other nobility. People who had never heard such music before were blown away by its power and intensity. They also came to Hackney where they sang for children from the local ‘ragged school’, in chapels and in other local venues. The children were so inspired that they formed their own Gospel choir! Later the Jubilee Singers also performed at the Hackney Empire – so there are strong historical links that make this project very special for our community.
‘Freedom Song’ combines a dramatic narrative about the struggle for freedom, with wonderful music based on the repertoire of the Jubilee Singers. It traces the history of emancipation, framed by the story of the Singers, linking it to the civil rights movement and current struggles for freedom and human rights. Vox Holloway is performing the work with Hackney Community Choir, a student choir and also with internationally recognised soloists and musicians.