Fenner 1829 1912 who in his arrangements attempted to

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Unformatted text preview: movement. Many people eventually objected to the designation “Black” because they felt it concentrated on racial characteristics and did not address their ethnic heritage. Furthermore, it was generally inaccurate in terms of skin color hue. The term “Afro American” followed, but was eventually displaced because of the association with the “Afro” hairstyle. The current most popular term is simply African Americans. This term is still somewhat inaccurate, as in terms of ethnic background, the vast majority of contemporary African Americans possess a mixture of ethnic heritages. While some African ethnicity is a common denominator, throughout the Americas there was substantial mixing with people of European and Native American (particularly Cherokee and Seminole) heritage. Thus most African Americans today share a combination of ethnic and racial backgrounds. Side Trip 6B: The Fisk Jubilee Singers The Freedman’s Bureau was established in 1864 to help freed slaves with food and shelter, and also to collaborate with other organizations to establish schools for blacks. One of the first of these schools was Fisk School, established in 1866 in Nashville, Tennessee by the American Missionary Association and the Cincinnati Western Freedmen's Aid Commission. It was set up in an abandoned Union Army barracks and named for General Clinton B. Fisk. Soon the school started struggling financially, so its treasure and music instructor George L. White suggested that he take his "Colored Christian Singers" on a concert tour. Although the school's Board of Directors rejected the idea, White borrowed money and contributed his own funds in order to take his students on a dangerous fundraising tour in 1871. The group had been trained in classical music and conventional Protestant hymns and anthems, and these were the pieces that constituted the bulk of their concert repertoire. But at the end of the day, the group would find solace by singing spirituals together in their rooms. White was familiar with these spirituals and knew that his singers sang them on their own without his conducting, so in an inspired move at a performance they were giving for a convention of Congregational Church ministers in Oberlin, Ohio on November 15, he decided to include a spiritual toward the end of the program. The group sang "Steal Away" and the response was so overwhelmingly positive, White decided to shift the programs of later performances to emphasize spirituals and to change the name of the group to, "The Jubilee Singers." By January, they were nearly free from debt and the tour emerged as an artistic and financial success. The group was generally enthusiastically received for the remainder of their tour, which included a performance for President Ulysses S. Grant in Washington, D.C. The group brought back more than $20,000 that was used to buy the land that is the present site of Fisk University. 5 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 Side Trip 6C: The Europeanization of Spirituals As the success of the Fisk Jubilee Singers inspired other institutions to form choirs that toured and performed spirituals, another process was taking place that both helped expose American society to the black spirituals and slowly transformed these spirituals. This was the process of creating arrangements of spirituals into 4- part quartet arrangements and solo art songs for the concert stage. An early contributor was Hampton College choir director Thomas P. Fenner (1829- 1912), who in his arrangements attempted to retain the spirituals' original character and "rude simplicity" while also trying to "develop" them musically.1 He added classical European vocal harmonies, straightened out the tempos and meters, and "cleaned up" the patois of illiterate...
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This document was uploaded on 02/16/2014.

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