Last Chance to Hear Us in 2017

The Spirituals Choir closes out its 2017 season with a presentation this Saturday, August 5, at the Oak Bluffs library as part of its second annual African American Literature and Culture Festival. The festival opens on Friday evening, August 4, at 6 p.m. with a reception for a retrospective showing of paintings by Olive “Cutie” Bowles. Saturday brings a full schedule of events, ending with our performance from 3 to 4 p.m.



Filed under MV Spirituals Choir

4 responses to “Last Chance to Hear Us in 2017

  1. Peter Bunten

    Dear Ms. Sturgis —

    I look forward to reading your periodic messages about the USSSP. Here in Dutchess County, New York, the Dutchess Antislavery Singers perform abolitionist songs from the antebellum period. I would like to explore with you whether our two groups might be able to sing together at some point — though the distance between us could be prohibitive.

    Can you tell me me the source of your slave songs? I’ve been working on another project and have been referencing the songs gathered and published by Lucy McKim Garrisson.

    Also, do you have any publicity material you might share? I can send you some info, as well, that you could distribute.

    An idea I had a while back was to create a “sister cities” type of network to link like-minded groups across the country to perform on the same day, marking a special occasion.

    The DAS is part of the Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project, which researches and teaches the history of slavery, Antislavery and the Underground Railroad in this area.

    I would love to hear from you.


    Peter Bunten, Chairman Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Peter, I’m passing your email along to Jim Thomas, our director — he’s the founder of the USSSP and his research over the years is the source of our songs. I love the idea of singing together! Distance is an issue, but so is our short season: Jim is a Vineyard summer resident whose home is in Virginia, so each year we gather in mid/late April to start rehearsing. Our public performances are all between mid-June and mid-August. The choir itself comprises both year-round and summer residents. Who knows, with planning and fundraising we might be able to pull it off.

      Our PR material consists almost entirely of posters for our presentations. In 2014 we produced a dandy booklet about the spirituals and the Slave Song Project, funded with ads from supporters, but only a handful of copies remain and we’re keeping them for our own archive.

      All best,
      Susanna S.

    • Hello Susanna and Peter, Please be reminded that Slave Songs are true American folk songs and sources are are more than often oral history. Even copied scores came after the Civil War and from the memories of former slaves. There are records of more than a thousand of these songs that have survived and many I am sure have been lost.

      Peter it would be interesting to have a collaboration of some type. As I am sure you know moving an entire choir around is a considerable challenge . However, our goals seem similar so let us continue the dialog.

      Best regards,

  2. A blog post from a family who came to our presentation at the festival:

    Thank you for coming and commenting, and hope to see you all next year!

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