Hampton University
Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Hampton University Choir, April 17-19
02/27/2020 - #184

HAMPTON, Va. (February 27, 2020) – The Hampton University School of Liberal Arts and Education, Music Department and the Hampton University Choirs are celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Hampton University Choir, April 17-19. There will be a Celebration Luncheon featuring two-time Grammy award-winner Ann Nesby and Hampton alumna Henrietta Thomas Telfair, along with a Celebration Concert featuring the Hampton University Choir.

“What an auspicious occasion to celebrate the Hampton University Choir’s 150 amazing years of excellence. Filled with rich musical tradition, the choir has performed in numerous grand venues all over the world, including Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Constitution Hall and many more,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “Hampton University has always been and will continue to be a place where the musical arts flourish.”

The first group of Hampton Singers was composed of 17 students; four of whom were former slaves. In the 1870s, General Armstrong traveled the nation with the Hampton Singers to raise money for the fledgling school. The ensemble raised more than $300,000 for Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute performing Negro spirituals and plantation songs.

The entire community is invited to this once-in-a-lifetime historic event. Hosting the event will be Brenda Pressley. Ms. Pressley began her New York theatrical career in “And Still I Rise” written and directed by Maya Angelou. She later enjoyed success on Broadway in the original cast of “Dreamgirls” directed by Michael Bennett and as Grizabella in “Cats.” More recently, Pressley appeared on Broadway opposite Linda Lavin in “The Lyons” and with Mercedes Ruehl in The American Plan.” Ms. Pressley also starred opposite Oprah Winfrey in the ABC series “Brewster Place.”

Ann Nesby is the lead vocalist of the inspirational soul troupe The Sounds of Blackness noted for their hit singles, “I’m Going All The Way,” “I Believe,” “The Pressure” and “Optimistic.” As a solo artist, Nesby has garnered six Grammy nominations and as an accomplished songwriter, she has penned songs for Gladys Knight such as “Home Alone” and hit singles, “The Right Kinda Lover” and “Someone Like You” for fellow vocal powerhouse Ms. Patti LaBelle.

Also performing will be Henrietta Thomas Telfair, a native of Jacksonville, Florida where she attended the public schools of Duval County. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Elementary Education. She graduated with honors from Hampton Institute, presently Hampton University. Telfair also received her master's degree in Criminal Justice from Everest University.

“The Hampton University Choir has been and remains an essential part of the fabric of Hampton University. We are very excited to be celebrating the sesquicentennial with all of our choir alumni from across the world,” said Omar Dickenson, Director of University Choirs.

The schedule for the weekend includes a reception in McGrew Towers on Friday, April 17 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Then on Saturday, April 18 enjoy the Celebration Luncheon in the Convocation Center from Noon – 2:00 p.m. On Sunday, rejoice with the Celebration Concert in Ogden Hall starting at 4:00 p.m.

For information about how to purchase tickets, please contact Dr. Joan Wickham at joan.wickham@hamptonu.edu or call 757-727-5425.

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