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Gospel Singing Group to Perform at Juniata

(Posted January 28, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, a 12- to 15-member group specializing in vocal arrangements of gospel music, spirituals and other forms of African-American folk music, will perform at Juniata College at 8:15 p.m. Feb. 1 in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall on the Juniata campus.

General admission tickets for single performances are $15. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $8. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID. For tickets and information about the Juniata College Artist Series, please call (814) 641-333.

The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, based in Los Angeles, Calif., specialize in performing African-American folk music that includes spirituals, gospel music, secular folk songs, calypsos and other Afro-Caribbean and African vocal forms. The group has been performing since 1968, under the direction of Albert McNeil.

The group's repertoire includes songs from the film "Carmen Jones," "Porgy and Bess," by George Gershwin, and tributes to Harry Belafonte and black musical theatre performers. The ensemble has performed in 70 countries. McNeil founded the group in 1968.

The tradition of jubilee singing goes back to 1870, when 11 singers from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. performed four-part vocal arrangements of spirituals for Queen Victoria in London.

Albert McNeil, director of the group, is professor emeritus of music at the University of California-Davis. He earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree from the University of California-Los Angeles and earned a doctoral degree from the University of Southern California.

A review in the Los Angeles Times described the group: "Imagine a fine concert choir singing European masterworks entirely from memory and with choreography. That is what the Jubilee Singers (do), only its repertory is drawn from African-American vernacular traditions."

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.