Memorial Concert and Service
One of the Hermitage’s most enduring traditions, the public will gather at the historic Hermitage Church for a memorial concert and service celebrating the lives the more than 150 African-Americans held in slavery here. The Hermitage is proudly partnering with the National Museum of African-American Music (NMAAM) to bring The Princely Players, to perform songs and spoken pieces that define the African experience in America. At the conclusion of the concert, a memorial service will be held and the public will be invited to lay flowers inscribed with the names of the deceased at the Enslaved Memorial, located just west of the Church.
The Princely Players, under the direction of Mr. Robert Smith, are comprised of eight vocalists who originally met at Cameron High School in Nashville, where a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, H. German Wilson, gathered students to form a performing troupe in the 1960s. Since then the individual members have gone on to succeed in areas such as medicine, law and education, yet continue to perform as members of The Princely Players. Their performances range from traditional spirituals like "Amazing Grace" and "Swing Low" to classical jazz such as Duke Ellington's "A-Train."The Grand Rapids Press" writes, "The singers' multipart harmonies, call-and-response techniques and beautiful descants transformed the folk repertoire with classical polish."
The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) celebrates the contribution and preserves the legacy of African Americans and the role they have played in defining, shaping and creating American Music. The galleries of the museum will focus on the authentic story of how music has played a critical role in the lives of all people especially through the lens of African Americans. The Museum will contain galleries on sacred music, blues, jazz, popular music, music of struggle & resistance and Hip Hop. For visitors, it will be a highly technological, educational experience for all ages and the Museum will offer educational programs, exhibits, and other opportunities to learn about this unique history.