"There is nothing wrong with going back to
fetch what one has forgotten." an Ashanti
“Music stirs up hope, joy, vision,
expectations. Brings one from a deep valley to a
Spirituals tell our story and is relived and
hopefully revitalized by all who hear.”
national treasure especially motivated to
re-invigorate and re-energize
I am Lauretta Dorsey Young and I
was born into a singing educators’ family. My mother was a
Big Band singer and my father was an educator who played
violin and sang in choirs.
Lauretta, early in her career
I grew up around music, especially
singing. My relatives and I (as a child) would often rent a
bus or pile into an open back truck and go on a picnic.
There would be lots of food and fun and lots of singing.
Someone would start singing and everyone would join in.
There were tenors, baritones, lots
of altos and beautiful high sopranos harmonizing in the most
simple and intricate ways. We would sing spirituals and
hymns. The Spirituals always fascinated me because of the
story and the rhythms and the melodies. I wondered about
the background of each and why these songs touched my heart
in depth emanating great joy or sorrow or pathos or hope.
Over the years, as a classical
singer, I’ve always included spirituals in my programs which
gave a part of my heritage to others of all races and
colors. I’ve found great correlations considering the times
of slavery, emancipation, hope, etc. with our times today,
i.e. slavery to drugs, alcohol, family dysfunctions,
struggle for success, lack of hope and vision.
It is my hope and intention to
inform, inspire and educate thru the performance of
Spirituals, known and unknown. Such Spirituals as sung by
great artist as Mahalia Jackson, Jubilee Singers of Fisk
University, Marian Anderson, Ethel Waters, Leontyne Price,
etc. To bridge and interpolate the spiritual to Jazz and
Lauretta Dorsey Young
to break the chains of time and circumstances, while
embracing one's heritage and watching for the stars.
Emotional. Informative. Soothing. Heart-wrenching.
Conferences, Corporate Functions, Schools, Children's
Gatherings, Guest Appearances, Church Functions, Political
Meetings, Women's Meetings, History Celebrations and other
...a world-renowned artist...graduate
of the Peabody Conservatory Institute of the Johns Hopkins University,
BM...awarded a graduate scholarship to the Julliard School of Music,
New York...winner of numerous national and international competitions
such a : first place at the International Musikwettbewerve, Munich,
Gemany...Silver Medalist at Concours International de Chant, Toulouse,
France...has sung for two sitting presidents at the White House,
Washington, DC...has sung with such notable conductors as Leonard
Bernstein, Antal Dorati, Serguiu Commissiona and Reiner Miedel...currently
a teacher of voice at the Baltimore School for the Arts.
The Value of
African American History is on the Rise
The Jubilee Singers
from the 1873 issue of The Illustrated London News after the
singers had performed at Willis's Rooms in London. The talented
vocal artists introduced "slave songs" to the world and,
in many opinions, preserved this music from extinction. Pictured
is the expanded group of singers on their second European tour:
Minnie Tate, Greene Evans (bass), Isaac P. Dickerson (bass),
Jennie Jackson, Maggie Porter, Ella Shepard (pianist), Thomas
Rutling (tenor), Benjamin M. Holmes (tenor), and Eliza Walker.
Only two, Jennie Jackson and Minnie Tate, were born free; the
rest were brought up in slavery till the decree of
H I S T O R I C A L
O V E R V I E W
The abolition of slavery in 1863 was commemorated by founding
the college in Nashville (1867). In 1871, hoping to raise
funds for Fisk University, school treasurer and music teacher
Geoff L. White borrowed money and set out with nine student
singers for a tour despite the disapproval of the university.
Withstanding hardships and indignities, this nameless and almost
penniless group persevered against all odds to save their school
from bankruptcy and closure. The singers ranged in age from
fifteen to twenty-five years and all were former slaves or
children of slaves.
Financially unsuccessful at first, the group abandoned
its classical, popular repertoire for powerful, moving
spirituals and slave songs. The group also adopted the name of
Jubilee Singers, from the biblical reference to the time
of jubilee and the freeing of all slaves. The group's manager,
George White, was without musical training himself, but
he was a fine singer, was dedicated to music, and had the added
talent of getting the utmost from his gifted singers. Soon the
power and eloquence of their music was entrancing and inspiring
audiences, which always cheered for encores.
After several tours throughout the United States and
Europe, the Jubilee Singers eventually raised $150,000, securing
the school's future. The funds purchased Fisk's present campus
(old Union Fort Gillem) in North Nashville and built Jubilee
Hall, the first permanent building in America for the
education of blacks (now designated as a national historic
landmark). Begun as a free school providing primary through
college education for newly freed slaves, Fisk was founded in
1866 by the Congregational Church's American Missionary
Association, the Western Freedmen's Aid Commission, and former
Union Army General Clinton B. Fisk of the Freedmen's
Bureau. Its only buildings at first were abandoned Union Army
Each October 6, Fisk celebrates Jubilee Day,
commemorating the original Jubilee Singers, who sang before
kings, queens, and heads of state; who captured the hearts of
all who heard their music; who introduced to the world the
beauty and tradition of the Negro spiritual; and who, with
steadfastness and commitment, virtually saved their university.
"Greatness Is Measured By What Has Been Overcome."
Available for Special
Black History Celebrations, Family Reunions,
Conferences, Schools, Concerts
and Special Events
Book Her For Your Next Event
Box 305, Baltimore, MD 21220
Lauretta Young Performances