Sweet Honey In The Rock, the venerable and Grammy nominated a cappella ensemble who've built a legacy for merging an inimitable and distinct harmonic vocal blend with a veracious commitment to activism, social justice, equality and freedom have announced their final fall shows to commemorate their SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK - 40TH ANNIVERSARY: FORTY & FIERCE year and milestone achievement.
Sweet Honey launched their anniversary in mid-February of 2014 at the Zellerback Theater in Berkeley. CA, and have been performing throughout the year. The SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK - 40TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW fall run will kick off September 18th at the University of Nevada/Reno's Nightingale Concert Hall in Reno, Nevada. Sweet Honey's tour will comprise fifteen shows and culminate on November 22nd at the Edmonds Center For The Arts in Edmond, WA. It will also include the final SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK: 40TH ANNIVERSARY, FORTY & FIERCE larger production on October 14th at the Thrivent Financial Hall/Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, WI.
Musically, the show relies on the depth of the ensemble's varied repertoire and newly arranged medleys and arrangements of some of their classics. Throughout the show each member will also share their own intimate personal stories in dialogue and perform influential songs that have highlighted their incredible journey over the past four decades. Audiences will also be warmed up and treated to a special pre-show presentation entitled “She-Rocks 5 Radio,” that will comprise an audio compilation of their most revered songs. The program is hosted by DJ Merk (Epatha Merkerson) and produced by Louise Robinson and Jordon Maillard Ware.
"We're extremely excited and feel blessed to have experienced and enjoyed such longevity, and we're very thankful to all our loyal fans who have stood by us all these years," stated Sweet Honey original member Carol Maillard. "They have been the driving force that has fueled all our artistic endeavors, and we're elated and happy to celebrate and share this special show with our fans and show them why we all feel "Forty & Fierce!” Sweet Honey comprises Louise Robinson, Carol Maillard, Nitanju Bolade Casel, Aisha Kahlil and Shirley Childress (American Sign Interpreter).
Sweet Honey In The Rock began creating its adventurous and diverse mixture of blues, African, jazz, gospel and R & B music as a quartet in 1973. Formed by Dr. Bernice Reagon (who retired in 2004) the ensemble's patented sound was honed during a workshop at the D.C Black Repertory Theater Company in Washington, DC. Since that time, they have performed throughout the world, including Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, at many of the premiere venues in the United States, released 23 recordings, been featured in documentaries and amassed a distinguished list of honors, awards and accolades.
The ensemble just returned from a short tour of Belize (August 26th - 31st) as part of the longstanding Arts Envoy Program and initiative by the US State Department that's hosted by the US Embassy in Belize. Sweet Honey performed concerts in Belize City, Dangriga and Placencia and conducted artist exchange workshops with a couple noted Belizean artists.
Last year the band successfully launched their first ever fan based fundraising campaign with the IndieGogo online platform. Funds derived from the campaign have been used to produce their 40th Anniversary show. They also toured Europe and Australia and performed at the National Memorial Service for the late Nelson Mandela presented at the National Cathedral in Washington DC and were recipients of distinguished awards by the Search for Common Ground Organization in DC and "The Keeper Of Flame" Award" presented at the national convention and Signature Gala of the Delta Sigma Theta Society in Washington, DC.
In 2012, they performed at the unveiling ceremonies for the Martin Luther King monument on the National Mall. They also debuted their first ever orchestral collaboration, providing the lyrics for composer William Banfield’s “Symphony 10: Affirmations for a New World,” co-commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra (Christoph Eschenbach, Music Director) and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC; the Minnesota Orchestra, (Osmo Vänskä, Music Director); and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Millennium Park, Chicago, released a thought-provoking single and video, “Are We A Nation,” inspired by the controversial immigration law that was enacted in Arizona . The song captured a Gold Songwriter Award from the 27th Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and was featured on an all-star compilation, “Bordersongs,” that raised money for the No More Deaths organization, which provides water and humanitarian aid along the Arizona/Mexico border. Their latest 2-CD set, “A Tribute – Live! Jazz at Lincoln Center,” pays homage to some of the great female African-American vocalists whose songs helped shape the group, including Abbey Lincoln, Odetta, Miriam Makeba, and Nina Simone.
The complete list of dates are listed below:
September 18th - University of Nevada/Reno Nightingale Concert Hall, Reno, NV
September 27th - Washington State University, Beasley Coliseum, Pullman, WA
October 8th - Georgia Southern University, Performing Arts Center, Statesboro,GA
October 9th - Wake Forest University, Wait Chapel, Winston, Salem
October 11th - Georgia State University, Rialto Center, Atlanta, GA
October 14th - Thrivent Financial Hall/Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton, WI
October 16th - St. Catherine University, O'Shaughnessy, St. Paul, MN
October 17th - Dimnent Chapel, Holland, MI
October 19th - The Center For The Performing Arts, Carmel, IN
October 22nd - Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton, WI
October 23rd - Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL
October 26th - Macomb Center For The Performing Arts, Clinton Township, MI
October 30th - East Tenn.State Univ, Martha St Culp Auditorium, Johnson City, TN
November 21st - Admiral Theater, Bremerton, WA
November 22nd - Edmonds Center For The Arts, Edmonds, WA