Historically Black College Choirs

« previous episode | next episode »

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Morehouse Glee Club with Wendall Whalum, circa 1981 (The Morehouse Glee Club)

On today’s Mix, we honor the African America tradition by sampling some of America’s leading college choirs: music from the Tuskegee Institute, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, Rust College and Winston Salem State University. These colleges share a common bond as members of a close-knit fraternity of historically black colleges.

A school famous for its choir is the Tuskegee Institute. Originally a teacher’s training school, Booker T. Washington was the founding president and choir director.  As part of the curriculum, Washington insisted everyone sing and learn spirituals. Washington's leadership helped the school and the choir grow. In the 1930s, William L. Dawson directed the choir to prestige. They made appearances for presidents, radio and television specials. Dawson retired in 1970, but came back to record an album with the choir in 1992. From that record, we play some spirituals they are so famous for studying.

Another choir featured on this program is the Winston Salem State University Choir. We play three movements of a cantata called a Journey To Freedom and Honor and Glory, an American Hero John Daniels. The composer Julius Williams is a native New Yorker and is an active conductor, composer and educator.

Marin Alsop leads the Morgan State University Choir, Peabody Children’s Chorus, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Bernstein’s rather radical Mass. The featured baritone is Jubilant Sykes.

The episodes concludes with some traditional spirituals from a classic recording of Leontyne Price singing with the Rust College Choir. Rust College has a strong history with the operatic singer - the Mississippi native donated her time and talents for a benefit concert for the College in Jackson which raised money for a new library. Built in 1967, the archives carries her name.


Spirituals/Tuskegee Institute Choir, William L. Dawson

Ezekiel Saw De Wheel

I want to be Ready

Ain’a That Good News


Riegger/Behold! /The Morehouse College Glee Club, Dr. David Morrow

Evil Shall Not Prevail


arr. Jester Hairston/ Behold! /The Morehouse College Glee Club, Dr. David Morrow

In Dat Great Getting Up Morning


Williams/Somewhere Far Away/ The Winston Salem State University Choir, The Reston Chorale, Dvorak Symphony Orchestra

A Journey to Freedom Honor and Glory, an American Hero John Daniels: Freedom


Bernstein Mass/Morgan State University Choir, Dr Eric Conway, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

In nomine Patris

Almighty Father


Gloria Tibi

Gloria in Excelsis

“Half of the People”

Thank You

Meditation No.3 (De profundis, Part 1)

Meditation No.3 (De profundis, Part 1)


Rust College & Lassaye Van Buren Holmes, Leontyne Price/ Leontyne Price Sings Spirituals

Let us Cheer the Weary Traveler 

Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit 

I Couldn’t hear Nobody Pray

Comments [4]

Winona from New York, NY

As a graduate of Morgan State University, I was delighted to awaken on Sunday morning to this choral mix. I just discovered your program and I am thrilled with the programming I have heard thus far. This program is worth a repeat and I am grateful for the opportunity to catch it the second time around. Thanks.

May. 13 2013 06:33 PM
Archie Hamilton

Having been a member of the Coleman High School Glee, in the early 60's, and sat in audience to hear The Rust College, under Miss Docey(sp) a little lady, in statue, but pull a sound from her glee club, that would fill the Grand Canyon, then there, the wonderful MooreHouse Choir, that sang in my school on Sundays afternoon, inspired all to appreciate, Mothers that allowed us all to get dressed for a lovely, after church event,of uplifting.


May. 13 2013 02:30 PM
Carole from Brooklyn, NY

Didn't you do this same program on February 3rd?!? This is the 2nd time in a row there have been repeats under different titles without any explanation. You should at least say you're repeating a program, and give a reason why that is necessary. And I agree: today should definitely have featured music on the theme of mothers, since it is actually Mother's Day. What's going on? I love you regardless, but would appreciate some sort of clarification. Thanks.

May. 12 2013 02:48 PM

That was very nice, but what happened to your Mother's Day programming?

May. 12 2013 08:24 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.