Festival celebrates spirituals in Norman

The Cimarron Opera Company will hold its 43rd annual Festival of Spirituals on Palm Sunday in Norman.
BY CARLA HINTON chinton@opubco.com Published: March 31, 2012
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“The spirituals ask no pity, for their words ride on the strongest melodies, the melody of faith. That is why there is joy in their singing, peace in their music and strength in their soul.”

— Langston Hughes

Spirituals are often sung in various churches along with other types of church music.

However, spirituals will be the center of attention at a traditional Palm Sunday program in the metro area.

The Cimarron Opera Company will hold its 43rd annual Festival of Spirituals on Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Norman, 555 S University Blvd.

Shari Ransley, Cimarron's executive director, said the festival program was started in 1970 by the opera company's founders Thomas and Carol Brice Carey. She said the Careys, wishing to keep this part of the black heritage alive, held a gathering in which new and familiar spirituals were sung by various singers. The event was very important to the Careys, predated their founding of the opera company by five years.

Ransley said the talented couple came to the University of Oklahoma at a time when the university sought to diversify the school and help with the efforts to integrate the surrounding community.



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