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CPR Classical and The Spirituals Project Choir to Present Community Event on African American Spirituals

Denver, May 11, 2022 - CPR Classical and The Spirituals Project Choir are presenting a community singing event on May 14 at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Denver. The event will celebrate and honor the history of spirituals and will be led by M. Roger Holland, II with special guest artists Dr. Kim R. Harris and Denver poet and activist Theo Wilson.

"The origin of the Negro Spiritual lies in community," said Holland. "The Spirituals were created in community, by community, for the purposes and needs of the community. They were meant to uplift, inform, sustain and encourage the community. And the singing of them also creates community."

The in-person event is sold out, but it will stream live at singspirituals.org at 7:30 p.m. MT this Saturday. 

Other community partners who will be present at the event include the Center for African American Health, Denver Children’s Choir and Denver Black Reparations Council.

This event is the culmination of Journey to Freedom: The Spirituals Radio Project, a partnership between CPR Classical and M. Roger Holland, II of the Spirituals Project Choir at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. 

CPR Classical and Holland launched the Spirituals Radio Project in February 2021. Since then, listeners have heard many beloved spirituals like “Deep River,” “Go Down Moses,” “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” on the radio. Additionally, Holland has chosen one spiritual to feature each month, sharing the story of that spiritual and how it illuminates the African American cultural narrative. 


About M. Roger Holland, II

M. Roger Holland, II is a teaching assistant professor in music and religion and director of The Spirituals Project at the Lamont School of Music, University of Denver, and a contributor to CPR Classical. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City where he received the Master of Divinity degree, Roger also served as Artist-in-Residence and director of the Union Gospel Choir for over 13 years. In 2015, Union awarded him the Trailblazers Distinguished Alumni Award, the first given to a graduate whose ministry is music, for his contributions to the legacy of African American music. He received a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, also in New York, and completed his undergraduate work at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, where he majored in music education with a concentration in piano and voice.

About The Spirituals Project at the University of Denver

The Spirituals Project is a community organization dedicated to preserving and revitalizing the spirituals through musical, educational, and social justice work in our community. Our work centers around a community choir open to all.

About Colorado Public Radio

Colorado Public Radio is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization delivering meaningful news, music, and cultural experiences to everyone in Colorado using the power of the human voice in all its forms. Roughly 95 percent of CPR’s funds come from the private support of listeners, businesses and foundations. For more information, visit www.cpr.org.

  • CPR News delivers in-depth, insightful and impartial news and information from around the world, across the nation and throughout Colorado, examining its relevance to our state and connecting it to our community.
  • CPR Classical takes listeners on an in-depth exploration of thoughtfully curated music – with an emphasis on Colorado’s classical community – providing context to a broad range of meaningful and compelling works from past to present.
  • Indie 102.3 takes listeners inside the world of new and independent music – exposing them to up-and-coming artists and highlighting Colorado’s local music scene.
  • Denverite is an online news source dedicated to Denver's curious and concerned.
  • KRCC is a public radio station in Colorado Springs, Colorado, serving Southern Colorado. KRCC is operated by Colorado Public Radio in partnership with Colorado College.