Davis & Elkins College hosting gospel performances

ELKINS – The sounds of two well-known gospel groups will have a presence on the Davis & Elkins College campus Feb. 9 and 10 as the Augusta Heritage Center, in conjunction with the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF), presents a soulful dinner and an uplifting concert.

The Soul Food Dinner with the Ingramettes is set for 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9 at Graceland. The Lift Me Up! Masters of American Gospel concert featuring The Legendary Ingramettes and The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10 in Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Both events are part of MAAF’s inaugural tours of the Folk and Traditional Arts Touring Network (FTAN). Earlier this year, Augusta was selected as one of eight organizations to participate in the pilot FTAN program.

“Americans have officially celebrated Black History Month since February 10, 1976, when President Gerald R. Ford established it as a national observance in an address that lauded its founder, African-American historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, and the ‘impressive contributions of black Americans to our national life and culture,’” said D&E Vice President for Student Affairs Scott Goddard. “The Lift Me Up! Gospel Tour featuring The Legendary Ingramettes and the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers will celebrate Black History Month at Davis & Elkins College in grand fashion.”

Dinner tickets are $20 per person, while admission to the concert is $14. Purchases can be made online at www.dewv.edu/arts-entertainment or by calling the Augusta Heritage Center office at 304-637-1209.

Joining the Legendary Ingramettes for the Soul Food Dinner will be their sister, Christine Ingram-Murphy. A member of the 2018-2019 class of Master Artists in the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program in Charlottesville, Virginia, Ingram-Murphy is a master of soul food cooking, with an emphasis on healthy traditional soul food dishes. The dinner menu will feature turkey, purple cabbage and green cabbage, macaroni and cheese, black eyed peas, rice, candied carrots, cornbread, chocolate cake, sweet potato pie and pound cake. The Legendary Ingramettes will be on hand and the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood will stop in as well.

The Legendary Ingramettes, a world-class family gospel group, shares a long history. The late evangelist “Mama” Maggie Ingram led the group for more than 50 years, performing with her children in Florida and Virginia. She received numerous awards, including the prestigious Virginia Heritage Award in 2009 and a Doctor of Music degree from Virginia Triumphant College and Seminary in 2011. The group’s recording, “Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes: Live in Richmond,” received the Independent Music Awards fan’s choice award for Gospel Album of the Year in 2012.

Ingram’s daughter, the Rev. Almeta Ingram-Miller, and granddaughter, Cheryl Maroney Beaver, now lead the group. With three generations represented, the family continues to spread joy, ministry and music. Providing a rock-solid foundation for the Legendary Ingramettes is their accomplished, longtime band comprised of Calvin Curry on bass, Randall Cort on drums and Stuart Hamlin on keyboards.

The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers have emerged onto the national gospel scene during a revival of interest in the art of unaccompanied gospel quartet harmony singing.

The gospel quartet style has its roots in the Negro spirituals of the American South. Enslaved Africans combined English hymns with West African rhythms and vocal traditions to create a musical form that expressed both Christian devotion and the desire for freedom. The written record mentions gospel quartet singing as early as 1851. The first group to make a splash was from the oldest historically black college, Fisk University, in Tennessee.

In 1988, Covington, Kentucky, native Eric “Ric” Jennings founded the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers at Covington’s Ninth Street Baptist Church.

Today the group has six members: Jennings, Greg Page, Eric Riley, Stace Darden, Demetrius Davenport and Samuel Norris Jr. The sextet of men sing as a Gospel quartet – a form that has four vocal parts that are often doubled for emphasis or musical depth.

The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers recently released their fifth album, “One Purpose Only,” and has performed at major national festivals in Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center, has toured France, Italy, Portugal, Russia and made 17 trips to Spain.

The Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble will have a special opportunity to participate in a workshop with The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers.

This engagement of the Legendary Ingramettes and the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers is made possible through the Folk and Traditional Arts Touring Network program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in collaboration with the National Council for the Traditional Arts with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Davis & Elkins College.

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