Hope College will present African-American a cappella group, The Princely Players on Friday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre. (Please note change in location.)
Working in the tradition of the Fairfield Four and the Jubilee Singers, The Princely Players will tell the story of Africans in America from slavery through the Civil Rights movement in "On The Road to Glory." The show features spirituals, gospel and traditional folk music, as well as poetry highlighting the struggle for freedom.
"The Princely Players didn't just give the audience a history lesson - they also provided exciting, gut-wrenching theater," said "The Nashville Scene." The group has collaborated with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Nashville Symphony. Members of the ensemble have recorded with Nashville musicians Randy Travis, Danny O'Keefe, and Kathy Mattea.
The Princely Players have also made appearances on the BBC, TNN and National Public Radio's "Wade in the Water" series, and on the Time-Life Civil War recordings.
The eight vocalists originally met at Cameron High School in Nashville, where a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, H. German Wilson, gathered students to form a gospel group in the 1960s. Since then the individual members have gone on to succeed in areas such as medicine, law and education, yet continue to perform as members of The Princely Players.
Their performances range from traditional spirituals like "Amazing Grace" and "Swing Low" to classical jazz such as Duke Ellington's "A-Train."Their tour brought them to Michigan last year, when "The Grand Rapids Press" wrote, "The singers' multipart harmonies, call-and-response techniques and beautiful descants transformed the folk repertoire with classical polish."
The group's visit to Hope is being sponsored by the college's Critical Issues Symposium, which is focusing on the impact of the court case ending school segregation 50 years ago. The main part of the symposium, titled "Race and Opportunity: Echoes of Brown v. Board of Education," takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 28-29. Additional information may be obtained online at www.hope.edu/cis.
Tickets for the Friday, Oct. 8, concert are $10 for the general public, and $5 for children under 18 years. Tickets will be available beginning Friday, Sept. 24, at the DeWitt Center box office. The box office is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be called at (616) 395-7890.Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located on College Avenue at 12th Street.