NEWBERRY — The journey from Africa to America was celebrated in a musical drama Friday night in honor of Black History Month.
The Capital City Chorale, a singing group out of Columbia, was sponsored by the Ebony Outreach Players, a local service group, as they merged to bring a musical drama emphasizing traditional African songs and history.
“The main job is to make beautiful music and be good ambassadors for excellent musical presentations,” said Marcus Works, one of the directors of the drama.
Works along with Doris Works directed the play made up of a diverse group of people who want to keep traditional African music alive.
The journey begins with slavery and follows a time line of Blacks in America ending with the Civil Rights movement.
“There is a lot of African-American spirituals (songs) native to them,” said Works who said the first half is about the slavery and the second half is about the Civil Rights movement.
“It’s between a play and a skit and there’s not a lot of speaking,” said Works, but there is plenty of singing.
The singers who range from their 20s to their 60s practice throughout the year, according to Works.
“There’s a good mix of people and we recently started a children’s group,” said Works, “to raise up a new generation who will know the traditional African songs.”
There’s not just singing but costumes for the visual as well.
“The costumes are in the styles of the slaves with straw hats, aprons, dungarees to that of the Civil Rights movement,” said Works about the complete package.
The group doesn’t rely on props, just their singing and costumes. There are also no special sound effects either, Works said.
“We want to remain true to the period,” said Works, “They’ll fill up this place with their voices.”