Written by David Boling; Edited by Dakota Harkins.
Historic Lakeside performers highlighted onAmerican Experience tonight on PBS.
Lakeside has hosted hundreds of talented performers, orators and preachers during its summer Campmeeting and Chautauqua seasons.
As part of the first fifty years of Arts and Culture programming, a number of "jubilee" singing groups graced the Central Auditorium stage. The predominantly African American a cappella singing groups were known around the world for defying the typical "minstrel" style of the Reconstruction Era.
One particular group, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, began singing in small southern towns and wound up performing for the royal courts of Europe.
The first group of Fisk College Jubilee Singers organized in 1871 to tour and raise funds for Fisk College in Tennessee. Their early repertoire consisted of traditional spirituals, but included some songs by Stephen Foster. The original group toured along the path of the Underground Railroad in the United States.
Visit their website at http://fiskjubileesingers.org/about-the-singers/our-history/ to find out more.
The Fisk College Singers serenaded Lakeside audiences on three separate occasions- in 1891, 1897 and 1921. After their second performance, The Bucyrus Evening Telegraph on July 31, 1897 noted:
'The last attraction at the auditorium has been the Fisk[e] Jubilee singers. These have been a drawing cards as upon the first evening over two thousand were gathered in the tabernacle to hear them, their music is most excellent. They have some entirely new numbers, and their soprano singer has adopted Queen Lil's method of dressing her hair. This last statement however must be seen to be appreciated.'
Source: Newspapers .com
The history of the Singers will be featured on the PBS series, American Experience this evening, November 19.
For more information, visit: www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/singers/