My first encounter with this illustrious group of multi-talented women was many years ago at Fisk Chapel in Nashville, Tennessee. My husband and I took our three daughters who were elementary age to the concert and the joy and excitement on their faces mirrored what the audience was feeling that night.
Dr. Bernice Reagon, the founder, was with the group at that time and she would weave a tale about the origins of the song they were about to sing which was just magical. This talented, innovative and wise griot established the ensemble in 1973 as part of the D.C. Black Repertory Theatre Company. Their mission was to provide our country and the world a musical history of the African American experience with its traditions, sacred music, human rights struggles as well as the humor and wit of our unique folklore. She is no longer with the company and her voice is sorely missed, however, these ladies haven't missed a step and continue to mesmerize audiences all over the world with sustained international acclaim. The background of the current members is a must read and one can only marvel at the dynamic process of bringing these amazing women together.
Just recently, I was discussing this group with my adult daughters and it was heartwarming to learn that they never forgot that performance at Fisk Chapel many years ago and the firstborn --who is a published poet stated that it marked the beginning of her enthusiastic love for the arts.