SWEDESBORO — Soul stirring gospel music, fabulous jazz band, professional dramatizations, historic tours, and more will occur at the Swedesboro Black History Program on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. at the Frist Baptist Church on Auburn Road in Swedesboro.
This mega celebration will cause audience members to “touch, hear, see, and feel history.”
The program will feature the award-winning Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy Jazz Band and Choir. The Jazz Band, under the direction Jamal Dickerson, has won first place at the Atlantic Coast Jazz Festival, Calavade Jazz Festival.
The Creative Arts Jazz Band has played with Jazz greats including Boosties Barnes, Esperanza Spalding, Sam Dockery, Christian Mcbride, and many more. The Vocal department has traveled to Puerto Rico, Italy, California, New Orleans, Poland, and Nashville where they have won supreme, and gold ratings. The Jazz Band has won consistently at the Berklee College of Music Jazz Festival and has won first place in the state for many years.
The program will feature the South Jersey Unity Choir, a multi-racial, multi-denominational choir of local singers. They practice at the Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, an Underground Railroad stop in Woolwich Township. Community members are invited to join their rehearsals on Feb. 7 and 13. They will sing negro spirituals that were used as signals on the Underground Railroad.
“There is something about singing those spirituals in a place in which they were sung, that is very powerful. We had this choir 10 years ago, and the singers were literally in tears of joy during the practices,” said Rev. Sherry Hall, director.
Also included are portrayals of Harriet Tubman (Millicent Sparks) and Sojourner Truth (Tiffany ThrBak) who will help bring history alive. Swedesboro’s African American History will be highlighted throughout this program.
The historic Mt Zion AME Church will host tours one hour before and after the program (from 2 to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.). Located just four miles from the program site, Mt. Zion was a stop on the famed Underground Railroad.
This event is free, and all are invited to come “see, hear, and feel history come alive.” It is hosted by HELP, Inc. (a non-profit organization. “Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission / Department of State, and the Gloucester County Cultural & Heritage Commission of Rowan College at Gloucester County.”
More information is available at www.helpinc.org, on Facebook: Swedesboro Black History Program, or by calling (215) 919-3362.