Musical traditions and women’s empowerment collide when the renowned Seattle’s Women’s Chorus and the African-American a cappella group Sankofa take the Admiral Theatre stage starting at 7 p.m. Saturday for “Lift It Up: Black America in Song.”
This marks the 10th anniversary of Seattle Men’s and Women’s Chorus concerts in Bremerton. The Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is again presenting this year’s show, and tickets are going for $12, $22 and $25.
Tickets have also been distributed to high school Gay Straight Alliance groups and to the Kitsap County HIV/AIDS Foundation for clients and families infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.
The concert, which follows the long tradition of African American music and rhythms, includes a mix of spirituals, love songs and songs of protest and social justice mainly drawn from the Sweet Honey in the Rock songwriters Bernice Johnson Reagon and Ysaye Barnwell.
“Everything in this concert is related to African-American women, either composed by one, sung by one or from their social experience,” said Dennis Coleman, artistic director of the 200-member Seattle’s Women’s Chorus. “It’s just too rich a trove of treasure to ignore.
“The songs deal with a subject matter that a choir of lesbian and straight women love to sing about. The women have a strong commitment to diversity and love singing the music of other cultures. They also identify strongly with the music that speaks about repression and social justice.”
Among the songs the Seattle Women’s Chorus is pulling from Sweet Honey in the Rock’s repertoire are “No Mirrors in My Nana’s House,” “I Remember, I Believe,” “Wanting Memories,” and “We’ll Understand It Better By and By.”
The Chorus, which includes Kitsap resident Lora Davis on second alto, also plans on performing Ella Fitzgerald’s “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” and former Bremerton resident Quincy Jones’s “Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)” from “The Color Purple” film soundtrack.
Sankofa performs “traditional African-American spirituals or gospels,” according to co-founder Gilda Turner.
“The reason for the group is to perform African-American music and learn it the way music was historically learned by our ancestors, which is by ear,” Turner said.