Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir to honor the late Nelson Mandela in ‘Songs of the Free’ Nov. 27 at Eisenhower
The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State will present Soweto Gospel Choir in concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, as part of the South African ensemble’s “Songs of the Free” tour honoring Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.
The two-time Grammy Award-winning choir has been spreading joy to audiences across the globe for nearly two decades. Comprised of 20 of the best artists in South Africa, the choir invites audiences to enjoy the incomparable and inspirational power of African gospel music.
Purchase tickets, which are $38 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student, and $28 for a person 18 and younger. A grant from the University Park Student Fee Board makes Penn State student prices possible.
For the first half of the concert, the choir will perform “Songs of the Free,” a rousing program celebrating the centenary of the former South African president’s birth. Following intermission, the performers will share international gospel classics, including their hair-raising take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” plus favorite Christmas carols.
Watch the choir perform its rendition of “Hallelujah.”
Several free community engagement events have been scheduled, for Nov. 5 and 12, in anticipation of the choir’s visit. Learn more about them.
These uplifting performers have shared the stage with some of the biggest names in music, including U2, the late Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Robert Plant, Celine Dion, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Josh Groban.
“The Soweto Gospel Choir members are thrilled to return to the United States for this American tour,” producer Andrew Kay said. “The group continues to inspire fans worldwide, but the reaction we get from audiences in the States is unforgettable. We hope that our uplifting message of hope, faith and joy reaches audiences new and old on this special return visit as we celebrate the legacy of the great Nelson Mandela.”
Filling the stage with vibrant costumes, incredible vocals and uplifting songs, the choir provides an evening of indisputable bliss that leaves audience exhilarated. The dynamic choir performs both traditional and contemporary music, adding its unique feel and interpretation to both. The ensemble performs in six of South Africa's 11 official languages with rich harmonies, earthy rhythms, a lively four-piece band and percussion section.
Along with traditional South African anthems, the choir will perform its famous renditions of “Amazing Grace” and “Freedom Songs Medley.”
Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, is offered one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.
Foxdale Village, A Quaker-Directed Continuing Care Retirement Community, sponsors the concert.
This presentation is part of the Center for the Performing Arts Diversity and Inclusion Collaborative. Penn State’s Equal Opportunity Planning Committee provides lead funding for the collaborative. Sandra Zaremba and Richard Brown provide support. Learn about the collaborative.