East Chop Lighthouse
The Spirituals Choir’s successful but all-too-short presentation season is winding down, but you still have three chances to hear us before time runs out.
On Saturday, August 4, we’ll be singing a few songs as part of Martha’s Vineyard Gospel Fest at Union Chapel. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, and $10 for students with ID. The show starts at 7, but we’ll be on toward the end. Thanks to the organizers for inviting us to be part of this!
Next Sunday, August 5, at 6 p.m. we return to East Chop Light for our popular sunset gig. Bring friends, family, and a blanket or a chair to sit on! The lighthouse may be open, in which case you can climb to the top for stupendous views of Vineyard Sound. In case of foul weather, the presentation will not be held.
On Tuesday, August 7, at 4:30, we wrap up the season at one of our favorite places: the West Tisbury library. The program room there is a great place to sing and a great place to listen to music.
For the Spirituals Choir, summers are always busy, but the main event is always our annual presentation at Union Chapel. It’s happening tomorrow, July 21, at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs. Tickets are $15, to benefit the U.S. Slave Song Project, of which the choir is a part. Children under 12 get in free. Tickets are available at the door and from choir members.
Once again, organist Lavert Stuart is our special guest.
Please join us!
If you can’t make it, or even if you can, our upcoming presentations include Thursday, July 26, at the Oak Bluffs library at 4:30 pm, and Tuesday, August 7, at the West Tisbury library, also at 4:30 p.m. We’re working on arranging a return to the East Chop Lighthouse, a perennially popular venue. Watch this space and the local papers for info on that.
Jim Thomas and the Spirituals Choir gave a well-attended and well-received presentation at the Chilmark library yesterday, July 7. This photo was taken by audience member Everett Spees. Thank you!!
We have two full-length programs coming up this week. On Thursday, July 12, at 2 p.m. we’ll be at the Tabernacle, in the heart of the Campground in Oak Bluffs, as part of the “Catch the Spirit!” youth program. All are welcome! And on Saturday, July 14, at 3 p.m. we return to the Edgartown library, whose program room is one of our favorite places — great acoustics!
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.
The West Tisbury library has a lovely program room, and we’ll be presenting there this Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. On State Road in the center of town, across from Alley’s General Store.
Our presentation at the Edgartown library this past Saturday went very well. Both the library and its sunny, spacious program room were new when we sang there last year. The acoustics were as wonderful as we remembered, and so was the hospitality. After the presentation choir and audience chatted over lemonade and coffee, strawberries, chocolate cake, and cookies.
At some point I noticed a mature gentleman moving about the room taking pictures.The zoom-equipped camera around his neck identified him as a photographer — not for him the smartphones or point-and-shoots of most of us. During the Q&A, he identified himself as Daniel Williams. For 30 years he has been documenting Emancipation celebrations, not only in the United States but abroad as well. A book is in the works.
Everyone knows about the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, which freed the slaves in the rebelling Southern states — but not those in slaveholding states that had never left the Union, and not those in the parts of the Confederacy that were by then under Union control.
Emancipation came gradually: the Wikipedia article on the subject notes that “Slaves in the District of Columbia were freed on April 16, 1862,” and on June 19 Congress passed legislation abolishing slavery in current and future U.S. territories. For various reasons, news of the Emancipation Proclamation did not reach Texas until mid-June of 1865, an occasion that is now widely celebrated as Juneteenth. Legal slavery did not officially end in the U.S. until the 13th Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865.
So there are several emancipation milestones to celebrate. Two songs in the Spirituals Choir’s 2017 celebrate Emancipation: “Rise! Shine! For the Light Is a-Coming” and “Great Day.”
It was a thrill to meet Mr. Williams and learn of his work, and needless to say, we look forward to hearing more.
Accompanist Phil Dietterich on the left, director Jim Thomas in blue
Some of the choir
Here’s the flyer: this Saturday, June 24, 3 p.m. at the Edgartown library. We sang there a year ago when the program room was brand-new — the acoustics are wonderful. Come hear us, and bring your friends. This is a program for all ages.