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home : opinions : columns August 27, 2015

1/14/2014 12:33:00 PM
You don't want to miss Robert Sims
Brenda Harrison

There is a performer coming to the FMU Performing Arts Center that I heartily encourage our readers to come hear. Lyric baritone and spiritual historian Robert Sims will be at the PAC on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m. I saw Sims perform last year at the Arts International Festival. He was fantastic. His rich baritone voice, musicianship, stage presence and interpretive skills came together for a concert to be remembered. Sims, a Chicago native, has made it his mission to keep alive the African American folk music tradition.

At this concert, he will present an afternoon of African American spirituals delivered in song and theatrics. He will be accompanied by Ann Rodgers Chandler of Lake City. For this concert, Sims will present songs illustrating the lifecycle of Christ and spirituals associated with the Underground Railroad escape. A Sims’ favorite is the call and response song, “Is There Anybody Here Who Loves My Jesus?” Sims says he desires to introduce attendees to new melodies through the music of the past. Sims says there is something deep and communal about spirituals that spoke to him at an early age, and still speaks to him today. “With gospel, you know who the composers are,” he said.

“Spirituals are the Southern sacred folk songs created and sung by African American slaves.” No one knows who created spirituals, but they have assumed a position of collective ownership by the whole community, he adds. Whether you enjoy spirituals or not, you will certainly enjoy watching Robert Sims perform. A great thing about this concert is tickets are only $5 – as part of the university’s special Community Concert Series. If you have never enjoyed or visited the beautiful Performing Arts Center in downtown Florence, this is an opportunity to do so for just five bucks. I hope to see you at the concert!

Galloway Mosley
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