The University of Michigan-Flint Chamber Singers have received an invitation to participate in a special Black History Month observance at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
The 20 member group will perform at a February 11 ceremony at which the three living members of the “Triple Nickel” 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion will be honored. It was on December 19, 1943, that Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, authorized the activation of the company as an all-black unit with black officers as well as black enlisted men.
The Chamber Singers received the invitation after a DVD of the group was heard by a member of the committee responsible for organizing the event. The committee was impressed by the video performance and a decision was made to extend an invitation.
“We are very grateful for the support of the University and its donors. Without that support, the Chamber Singers would not have been able to accept this once-in-a-lifetime invitation,” said Lois Alexander, chair of the UM-Flint Music Department. “I think it is wonderful that these students and their conductor are eager to participate in honoring the brave service of the 555th
Parachute Infantry Battalion.”
The Chamber Singers will perform three gospel selections at the ceremony that will be held in the Pentagon’s Auditorium, and sent out for live broadcast on the Pentagon Channel, and on Armed Forces Radio and Television internationally. The taped performance will be fed later to other national networks. Chancellor Ruth Person will attend the performance at the Pentagon.
“The invitation to perform at the Pentagon is not only an incredible opportunity for our students and our department, but also a great honor for the University of Michigan-Flint,” said Gabriela Hristova, assistant professor and conductor of the Chamber Singers.
The three spirituals that will be performed are: “The storm is passing over” arr. by B. Baker,
” Deep River” arr. by D. Patriquin, and “Walk in Jerusalem” arr. by R. Dilworth.
Any media interested in doing a story on the group are invited to attend the last half hour of the final rehearsal. It will be held in Room 164, French Hall at 1:30-2 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9.