NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - An anonymous donor has given $1.5 million to Fisk University to establish a permanent endowment to support the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the school announced Thursday.
The 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.
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“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,” Fisk President Vann Newkirk said in a news release.
The anonymous gift will establish an endowed fund named after Paul T. Kwami, the longtime Musical Director and Fisk Jubilee Singer alumnus.
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“Dr. Kwami has overseen the ensemble for over 25 years and this donation is also a testament to his exemplary legacy,” Executive Vice President Jens Fredericksen said in a news release.
The university is committed to raising a $5 million endowment that will support the ensemble with recruitment, retention and programming.
For nearly 150 years the Fisk Jubilee Singers have traveled the world preserving the American musical tradition known as “Negro Spirituals.”
“This donation provides a wonderful lead gift, and we are hopeful many others will follow in this historic year,” Kwami said in a news release.
Earlier this year the Fisk Jubilee Singers received their first Grammy, the Rhapsody and Rhythm Award, followed by a Dove Award nomination.
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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.