USC Hosts Shared Traditions -- Sacred Music in the South

Gullah Kinfolk The University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum will host a music symposium entitled Shared Traditions: Sacred Music in the South on February 26th and February 27th, 2016. The program will feature live performances, a panel session, presentations, and music workshops. All Shared Traditions programs are free and open to the public. The event is co-sponsored by the USC School of Music and Brookland Baptist Church. Shared Traditions will start with a meet & greet with Gullah storyteller Anita Singleton-Prather at 3:30pm on Friday, February 26th at McKissick Museum on USC’s historic horseshoe. Singleton-Prather, a recipient of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, is a singer, actress, and the director and producer of Broadway Back In Da' Woods Productions, a full-stage musical theater experience featuring the performance group The Gullah Kinfolk. Friday evening will also include a presentation at 6:30pm by Dr. Eric Crawford on the topic of African-American spirituals in the South Carolina Sea Islands. Held at Johnson Hall at the Darla Moore School of Business on the USC campus, the talk will lead into a live performance of Circle Unbroken: A Gullah Journey from Africa to America by Anita Singleton-Prather and The Gullah Kinfolk at 7:00pm. Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia will host all program events on Saturday, February 27th. A detailed schedule of events is included with this press release. The day will begin with a panel presentation entitled “Vocal Godliness: Gospel in Black and White” and will feature current research by graduate students from Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Following this session, Dr. Minuette Floyd will present on the topic of the music of the African-American camp meeting. The keynote speaker, Dr. Cynthia Schmidt, will screen The Language You Cry In, a film based on her research chronicling an amazing scholarly detective reaching across hundreds of years and thousands of miles, from 18th century Sierra Leone to the Gullah people of present-day Georgia. Dr. Schmidt will share an update on her research and host a Q&A with the audience. Following the keynote address, conference participants will have the opportunity to attend three music workshops focusing on shape-note and hymn-raising traditions. Led by practitioners and choir leaders, these workshops will provide the opportunity to learn about the history of these traditions and the chance to participate in fellowship and song. Saturday’s program will conclude with an evening concert, highlighting the songs and styles learned during the workshops. For more information, visit or call Saddler Taylor at 803-777-3714. This program is funded in part by the Humanities CouncilSC and the South Carolina Arts Commission.