ITHACA, N.Y. — The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers (DCJS) will present the free concert “The Quilt Speaks: Signs and Symbols from the Underground Railroad” at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 11 at the State Theatre, 107 W. State Street, Ithaca.
Based in Ithaca, NY, DCJS is a diverse chorus of some 80 singers who perform locally and throughout the region – most recently at the Clemens Center in Elmira, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and in Brooklyn, NY. As a nonprofit organization, their mission is to preserve the Negro Spiritual and the use of its themes of sorrow, despair, and hope to promote racial healing and social justice. Founding director Dr. Baruch Whitehead, associate professor of music education at Ithaca College, not only conducts this soulful music but also explains how some songs had hidden meanings or special significance to the enslaved Africans who first sang them.
The chorus is unique in that it’s comprised of members of different ages (18-80), heritages and backgrounds: almost 20 Ithaca College voice students, who perform many of the solos; numerous Cornell and Ithaca College deans, faculty, staff, alumni and retirees; and a host of community members (a farmer, physician, retired opera singer, dining and library clerks, veterinarian, attorney, and more).
Featured image provided.