The world-famous Morehouse College Glee Club performed last weekend at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center (MMCC) for a special concert sponsored by the Morgan County African American Museum (MCAAM).
“This is a chance to work with our cultural center to bring more diverse talent to our community and to bring more people into the center,” said Madison Mayor Fred Perriman and MCAAM board member.
Morehouse College, a historically African-American college for men in Atlanta, boasts of a longstanding glee club founded in 1911. Throughout its history, The Morehouse College Glee Club has performed at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral, President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration, the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 1993 Super Bowl, and has embarked on national and global tours for decades.
“We have a world-class talent with us here tonight,” said Perriman before the glee club’s concert began. “You are in a for a wonderful night of music.”
The Morehouse College Glee Club is led by Conductor David E. Morrow, who has led the acapella group since 1987. The glee club performed a diverse musical selection, including renditions of classical ballads, classic numbers composed by African-Americans, African American spirituals, and an African Christmas song about the birth of Jesus entitled “Betelehemu.”
For me, if the people experience the diversity of music and the power of music, that is the takeaway for me,” said Morrow. “These young men work exceptionally hard to be in the glee club. They practice four days a week. They have to volunteer and serve and help organize. They take ownership in the club.”
Perriman hopes the MCAAM and MMCC will collaborate on events like this in future again.
“We hope this is the beginning of a long relationship between the MCAAM and the MMCC,” said Perriman.
MMCC leaders were pleased with the events turnout.
“We were very excited to present the Morehouse College Glee Club in collaboration with the Morgan County African-American Museum. We were so pleased with the full house for the show and for the wonderful, diverse, and enthusiastic crowd! It was truly a special night that we won’t soon forget. We look forward to partnering with the Morgan County African-American Museum for future events,” said Rebecca Bonas, performing arts director for the MMCC.
The nearly sold-out show not only drew in members of the public, but local community groups, including Unity Morgan, purchased 40 tickets for children in the Boys and Girls Club of Morgan and Putnam counties.
Madison Presbyterian Pastor David Powers, chairman of Unity Morgan, opened up his church to feed the glee club before the performance and invited the boys and girls club kids to mingle with the glee club singers.
“Our mission is to pray, educate, and advocate for racial reconciliation and racial unity in Morgan county,’ said Powers. “We believe the men at Morehouse College are our future leaders for our state and for our country. We wanted our local students to experience this leadership modeled to hopefully have a formative impact.”
Unity Morgan was started by a handful of local community members after the tragic church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in which Dylann Roof shot and killed nine African-Americans during a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015. Unity Morgan’s leadership includes David Powers, Madison Mayor Fred Perriman, Madison City Councilwoman Carrie Peters Reid, Peter Wibbell, Cory Thomas, pastor Madison Christian Church, Reverend Hoke Smith, lead pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Madison, Sherry Terrell Alexander, Carol Smith and Demarius Brinkley.
“Our hope is that our youth, first of all, is able to experience the highest quality of entertain that our community has to offer. Secondly, that they see the Morehouse men, who are incredible men. If we are about shaping the lives of young people, these are the kind of men we want them to look up to.”