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The following is a republished press release from a community organization or member and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at msmith@ithacavoice.com.

ITHACA, NY – Sunday, Dec.13, 3 p.m.: Come hear the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers (DCJS), a not-for profit corporation, perform its most extensive concert to date at Hockett Family Recital Hall, Ithaca College’s School of Music. The mission of this primarily a cappella African American spirituals chorus is to preserve this soulful body of music and to help promote racial healing. Free.

DCJS, now in its sixth year, has more than 80 singers, including some of Ithaca College’s finest voice students soloing alongside community members of different ages (18 to 78), heritages and backgrounds.

The chorus’ mission is to preserve the unique American art form of the formal concert style Negro Spiritual, which the singers believe carries the power to promote social justice and racial healing, says Baruch Whitehead, associate professor of music education at Ithaca College, and founder and director of the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers.

“In these particularly difficult times, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement and the social unrest at Ithaca College and elsewhere, we believe that this music has an uncanny power to bring people together to help promote racial healing,” Whitehead says.  “The music, as the voice of a uniquely American experience, also conveys the perseverance and indomitable spirit of an oppressed people, who had this incomparable ability to sing through their anguish and embrace hope through their steadfast faith to a God above.”

The group is named in honor of civil rights pioneer Dorothy Cotton, an Ithaca resident who worked in Dr. Martin’ Luther King, Jr.’s inner circle as education director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the 1960s.

In 2007 the U.S. Congress officially designated the genre of African-American spirituals “national treasure.”

The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers, which welcomes new singers, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. Sponsors of the chorus include The Community Arts Partnership, three individual funds of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County (the Dorothy L. Allen Black Gospel Music Fund, the Erin Aljoe Schlather Dedicated Memorial Fund, and the Kathy Yoselson Fierce Determination Fund), and the Tompkins County Tourism Program.

Photographs of the chorus are available at http://dorothycottonjubileesingers.wordpress.com/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DCJS1 or upon request for higher resolution from Susan Lang ssl4@cornell.edu.

To interview Professor Baruch Whitehead: call  (607) 274-7988; cell (607) 379-2973; bwhitehead@ithaca.edu.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.