The nonprofit “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation is preserving a heritage within America’s musical legacy – the Negro spiritual song – and supporting a future for deserving young people as they transition from high school to college. Along the way our GRADY-RAYAM PRIZE vocal programs develop and showcase talent that is suited to classical singing.
The term “Negro Spiritual” chosen as part of our name usually modifes the word ‘song’. When taken together the three words ‘Negro spiritual song’ identify a particular body of work deriving from the slave era. (‘Negro spiritual’ is the shorthand version.) African slaves brought with them tunes and rhythms that they matched with new words to create songs telling about their plight. This historic group of uniquely American songs is now recognized universally as a distinct genre of music literature. We have adopted the Negro spiritual as the focus and centerpiece of our agency’s mission.
The young baritone JaQuan Purcell appeared as a guest artist for the 2013 WholeNote Society Recital Dinner. He currently attends Rollins College in Winter Park where he studies under Curtis Rayam Jr., our Namesake Patron. Here he sings the art song Prayer by Leslie Adams —————–>