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Remembering and Rejoicing: New Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience to Kick Off with Launch Celebration

October 17, 2016

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s newest center, the Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience (CMWBCE), will be kicking off with a special launch celebration on Saturday, October 29, 2016. The celebration will begin with a worship service in the seminary’s Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful followed by miniature seminar lectures presented by the CMWBCE faculty. Festivities will culminate Saturday night at Evanston Township High School with Jubalani: A Concert of Remembering and Rejoicing, a unique music and arts concert featuring a multicultural, multigenerational, and interdenominational mass choir, the Jubalani ensemble, an orchestra and band, and liturgical movement ministries comprised of premier musicians from across the United States and abroad. 

Jubalani is derived from the Zulu word meaning, “to rejoice,” and will be a concert experience like no other. Over 10 renowned musicians and performers will explore a timeline of the history of black music; ranging from traditional African instruments and rhythms, to the spirituals sung in slavery, to the era of jazz and blues, and culminating with hip-hop and other contemporary styles. Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson, director of the CMWBCE, explains that the primary mission of the Center is “to recover, recreate, and revitalize the distinctive musical and liturgical heritages born out of the ethos and pathos of Black Church worship celebration and beyond.” The goal of the Jubalani concert is to give voice to the Black experience throughout history through the gift of music.  “You are guaranteed to be moved physically, emotionally, and spiritually by the wonderful musicians we have lined up at Jubalani,” Wilson says.

The sounds of the Black Church have always been central to its people’s sense of hope and ability to overcome adversity. The rich legacy of music in the context of the Black Church is in imminent danger of extinction; across the country and abroad, other cultures co-opt this legacy and strip it of its authenticity and historical significance. In our current age of Black Lives Matter and the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, CMWBCE accepts its responsibility to contribute to Black people’s ongoing struggle for affirmation, freedom, and full equality by ensuring that our spiritual legacy continues to firmly support us in contemporary times.

Tickets for Jubalani are available at www.Garrett.edu/Jubalani, for group rates, email seminary.relations@garrett.edu. A variety of registration options are also available for those who wish to attend all or part of the launch celebration. Proceeds from the event will go to support the Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience at Garrett-Evangelical. For more information and to register, go to www.Garrett.edu/CMWBCELaunch

The Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience is a one-of-a-kind North American institute that provides training in the sacred music of the Black church and beyond to musicians and worship leaders for the enrichment of congregational worship in diverse contexts. In partnership with the Center for the Church and the Black Experience at Garrett-Evangelical as well as United Methodist Discipleship Resources: Strengthening the Black Church for the Twenty-First Century (SBC-21), the Center seeks to recover the distinctive musical and liturgical heritage of Black churches, recreate and revitalize that musical and liturgical heritage, and strengthen the skills of music and worship leaders in Black churches and beyond.