Albert McNeil began working in church music when he was 18 at the People's Independent Church of Christ in L.A., a mega-church with 5,000 members and four choirs. Soon the prodigy choral director assembled a double quartet that called itself the McNeil Jubilee Singers, patterned after the Fisk Jubilee Singers the earliest of black gospel choirs, coming from Fisk University, founded in 1865. In 1968, the group formally became the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, with a singular mission: "To deliver to the world the history, beauty and majesty of the Negro spiritual." Today, McNeil head of the department of music education and the choral program at UC Davis is recognized as the world's foremost proponent of the spiritual as concert music, and his Jubilee Singers are unequaled as a choral group of intensity, purity and clarity. And, of course, sheer ebullience; as McNeil notes, "Jubilee singing is a cappella, in a joyous style." Feel the spirit this weekend when this amazing ensemble performs traditional and contemporary spirituals and other works by African-American composers as part of Pasadena Presbyterian Church's Celebration Day. Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E. Colorado Blvd.; Sun., June 24, 4:30 p.m.; $20 donation. (626) 793-2191, ppc.net.
Sun., June 24, 4:30 p.m., 2012