Throughout this year, the Fisk Jubilee Singers® have celebrated their 150th anniversary and what a year it has been! Earlier this year, the ensemble received their first GRAMMY®, the Rhapsody and Rhythm Award, followed by a Dove Award nomination and then this week a $1,500,000 donation to establish a permanent endowment to support this national treasure. This anonymous gift marks one of the largest donations to the Fisk Jubilee Singers® and will provide the foundation to support artistic projects, and the recruitment and retention of the next generation of extraordinary talent. “The Fisk Jubilee Singers® are exceptional ambassadors for this historic institution, and they have lifted spirits across the world and supported the University for 150 years”, said Fisk President Vann Newkirk.
The anonymous gift will establish an endowed fund named after longtime Musical Director and Fisk Jubilee Singer Alumnus Paul T. Kwami. “Dr. Kwami has overseen the ensemble for over 25 years and this donation is also a testament to his exemplary legacy”, said Executive Vice President Jens Frederiksen. The University is committed to raising a $5,000,000 endowment that will support the ensemble with recruitment, retention, and programming. According to Dr. Kwami, the Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers®: “This donation provides a wonderful lead gift, and we are hopeful many others will follow in this historic year.”
The Fisk Jubilee Singers® have inspired audiences, broken barriers and literally built buildings for 150 years. Jubilee Hall, the oldest permanent structure on any Historically Black College campus, stands as a testament to the talent and perseverance of generations of Fisk Jubilee Singers®. Today, the ensemble continues to open minds, uplift hearts, promote education and inspire audiences across the globe. The unique power of music to change lives reverberates through their every performance and we are hopeful these timeless voices will continue to inspire for another 150 years.