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Throughout the year Classical 91.5 will present a number of special programs or mini-series that are not a part of our regular broadcast schedule. Come back to this page on a regular basis to find out about these special programs.

Deep River: The African-American Choral Spiritual, Wed 2/23 @ 12p


From the days of slavery 150 years ago, the African-American spiritual grew out of the earliest days of Black America. Listeners will enjoy an hour of choral spirituals with expert commentary by the former director of the IU African-American Choral Ensemble, Dr. James Mumford.

Over time, spirituals spread across denominations, cultures, and concert venues around the country and the world. Many have heard this music without being aware of how deep the meaning and history run beneath the surface. Listeners will enjoy an hour of spirituals, including the well-known "Let My People Go," compositions from Undine Smith Moore and more. The compelling songs are contextualized and given new life by spirituals expert and former choral ensemble director Dr. James Mumford.

Spirituals, according to Dr. Mumford, are “books in the library of primary sources of the real experiences of enslaved Africans.” Spirituals can tell us “how they felt about slavery, were able to endure it; define it; adapt it; hate it; to fight it, and to eventually come out of it.”

The language in spirituals, their poetry, comes out of the necessity to use double entendre in order to veil the messages hidden in each song. As Dr. Mumford says, “one finds in the Spirituals the polarities of hope and despair, joy and sorrow, death and life.”

We'll hear the Moses Hogan Singers, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, IU African American Choral Ensemble, and the Tuskegee Institute Singers.

Wade in the Water
Great Day
Go Down Moses
Give Me Jesus
Ain't-a That Good News
Daniel, Daniel Servant of the Lord
Soon Ah Will Be Done
I've Been Buked and I've Been Scorned