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University Performance Series Brings SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK® to Campus


With soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms, Radford University’s Performance Series welcomes the legendary SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK® to Bondurant Auditorium on Sept. 5.

Through its mixture of Blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, reggae, African chants, Hip Hop, ancient lullabies, and jazz improvisation, SWEET HONEY continues its four-decade tradition of political and social activism. Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1973, the group was the brainchild of Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, a leader in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

The name SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK® was derived from a song the original four members sang during a vocal workshop that Reagon taught at the Washington, D.C. Black Repertory Company. The song was based on Psalm 81:6 and describes a land so fertile that honey flowed out of a rock. Reagon felt that collective voices sounded like the description.

Though Dr. Reagon retired in 2004, the all-female a capella group has continued its legacy and includes six members, including an American Sign Language interpreter Shirley Childress, who began signing for the group in 1981.

In addition to Childress, SWEET HONEY currently features Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil, Carol Maillard, and Louise Robinson.

“The University Performance Series is pleased to be able to offer programming that includes SWEET IN THE ROCK®. This truly exceptional group of performers brings a plethora of diversity to our campus in that it includes a strong mix of music and advocacy in civil rights and the deaf community,”  College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean Joe Scartelli said.

In partnership with songwriter Barry Eastman in 2012, SWEET HONEY won a Gold Songwriter Award from the 27th Mid-Atlantic Song Contest for “Are We a Nation.” The group recorded and released this single and video, which also featured hip-hop artist Yonas. A controversial immigration law enacted in Arizona in 2010 inspired this song. Included on “Bordersongs,” an all-star musical compilation, it has helped raise funds and awareness for the No More Deaths organization, which provides water and humanitarian aid along the Arizona/Mexico border.

SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK® is the season opener for the University Performance Series. The concert is on September 5 at the Bondurant Auditorium at Preston Hall. It starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children and free with an RU ID. Starting August 22, they can be purchased at the Hurlburt Student Center information desk or by calling (540) 831-5420. The may be also ordered online.

For more information about Radford University, please visit www.radford.edu.


Aug 19, 2013

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