Heritage Center, the University of Dubuque’s performing arts, worship, and campus center, continues its inaugural Live at Heritage Center Performing Arts Series with Soweto Gospel Choir on Wednesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. Based in Soweto, South Africa, the choir’s current tour “Divine” celebrates 10 years of touring North America. Dubuque is the only Iowa stop on this 11-week 2014 national tour. The multi award winning ensemble is composed of twenty-six of South Africa’s best voices and celebrates the unique and inspirational power of gospel music. The choir recently offered numerous public musical tributes to the life and legacy of the late Nelson Mandela.
WHAT: Live at Heritage Center Performing Arts Series – Soweto Gospel Choir
WHEN: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center
TICKETS: $29-$33 for adults, $16 for students
Having only formed in November of 2002, Soweto Gospel Choir has achieved international fame in eleven short years by enchanting audiences with their glorious voices, energetic dancing, vibrant costumes, and exuberant spirit. The group has received numerous awards, including two American Gospel Music Awards, multiple Grammy Awards including Best Traditional World Music for their second CD “Blessed,” several South African Music Awards including Best Duo or Group for their CD/DVD “Live at the Nelson Mandela Theatre,” a Metro FM Music Award for Best Gospel Album for “African Spirit,” and many, many more.
A group with international appeal, Soweto Gospel Choir has performed around the world for dignitaries and celebrities, including former president Bill Clinton, Desmond TuTu, Nelson Mandela, Samuel L. Jackson, Carlos Santana, Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, and Prince Charles. They’ve sung in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, the Nelson Mandela Theatre, and Royal Festival Hall in London, and have been featured at several esteemed festivals including the Edinburg Festival, the Adelaide Festival, the Hong Kong Festival, and the London Festival.
The choir is also frequently requested for high-profile events, having performed for the inauguration of South Africa’s new president in 2009, the FIFA World Cup in 2009, and the opening ceremonies of the 2010 World Trade Exposition in Shanghai. The group has also appeared on stage and screen, having been featured on programs such as The Today Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. They also performed “Down To Earth,” from the Pixar blockbuster Wall-e, at the 2008 Academy Awards, becoming the first South African artists to perform at the event.
Soweto Gospel Choir’s unique, powerful, and beautiful sound is sought after by countless artists for collaboration; the group performed with Celine Dion during her “Taking Chances” tour of South Africa, the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Germany, and Josh Groban in his London and Sun City performances of “Weeping” and “You Raise Me Up.” The group has also performed with and alongside Diana Ross, gospel legends Bebe Winans and Kirk Franklin, U2, the Black-Eyed Peas, Shakira, John Legend, Bono, Queen, Jimmy Cliff, Johnny Clegg, Eddie Grant, Queen Latifah, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder.
Not only dynamic and engaging performers, the choir is heavily involved with many philanthropic efforts including their own AIDS orphans foundation which has raised over $4 million. While in New Orleans, the group recorded a track with rock legend Robert Plant, which was included on a Fats Domino tribute album, with proceeds going to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Their current tour involves a partnership with Feed the Hungry, a charity based in the US that has delivered more than 200 million dollars of food and supplies to hungry, suffering people and victims of natural disasters in 92 nations around the globe. In South Africa, the choir frequently performs for a variety of charitable organizations.
In addition to their Heritage CenterStage Series debut, the choir will work with University of Dubuque gospel and concert choir students in a master class setting, as well as present a free pre-show lecture in Babka Theatre one hour prior to their performance. The lecture will feature a guest speaker from the choir highlighting the group’s beginnings, performance repertoire, and current international acclaim.
Tickets for Soweto Gospel Choir can be purchased now at the Farber Box Office, open Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Heritage Center, University of Dubuque, 2255 Bennett Street; by phone at 563-585-SHOW; or online at www.dbq.edu/heritagecenter.
TH Media serves as the Heritage Center 2013-2014 season presenting media partner.