FLORENCE -- The Hallelujah Singers, organized in 1990 by Marlena Smalls, to preserve the melodies and storytelling of the Gullah culture found on the South Carolina Sea Islands, will perform March 4 at 7 p.m. in the McNair Science Building auditorium at Francis Marion University.
The group will perform “Frogmore Stew,” a combination of melodies from the group’s “Church,” “Harvest,” and “Nuttin But de Blues” routines. The concert is free and open to the public as part of FMU’s celebration of Black History month.
Smalls, a native of Ohio, is the founder of the annual Gullah Festival in Beaufort, S.C. Anita Prather, a native of Beaufort, and curriculum coordinator for the Education of the Gullah Culture Through the Arts program, is artistic director of the group.
The ensemble has become a national art provider, offering awareness and enrichment of this unique culture whose language and traditions are linked to West African civilization. Interwoven with music and narration, the singers present miniature dramatizations of some of people, rituals and ceremonies that have played an important part in Gullah culture.
The singers appeared in the Academy Award-winning motion picture “Forrest Gump,” with Smalls playing the role of “Bubba’s” mother. The group has also appeared in PBS television documentaries, on NBC’s Today Show, and performed for dignitaries and at festivals.
For more information, call Yulaundra Heyward at 843-661-1188.