Community Affairs

Posted on: February 14, 2017

Harriet Tubman Visitor Center Opens March 11

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CELEBRATIING……. THE OPENING OF THE HARRIET TUBMAN VISITOR CENTER.

Please join The Singing and Praying Bands  Saturday, March 11, 2017, 1:00 p.m. Site 11 on the Tubman Byway; New Revived United Methodist Church 4350 Smithville Road, Taylor’s Island MD.  Rev. Samuel Jerry Colbert, Pastor of John Wesley United Methodist Church Annapolis, MD will be give an documentary history of the “The Singing and Praying Band.”  Visitors will be given the opportunity to witness hearing the band. 

“No matter where the newfound fame leads them, Rev. Colbert is focused on keeping the tradition alive.’”

The Singing and Praying Bands of Maryland and Delaware practice a form of religious worship that encompasses one of the oldest and most historic African-American performance traditions that is still active today, predating gospel, blues, and jazz. According to oral tradition, the bands began with secret outdoor meetings in antebellum times. Later, this tradition became a part of Methodist prayer meetings that began with lined-out hymns (a way of singing initiated by a leader who would chant a line of a song and the congregation would sing it back) and concluded with a form of ring shout that blended West African traditions of song and movement in a circle. In the early 19th century, the early manifestations of this tradition occurred in areas around Baltimore and Philadelphia, as well as southeastern Pennsylvania, southwestern New Jersey, Delaware, and the rural Maryland tidewater area surrounding the Chesapeake. Currently, the singing and praying band tradition is found only in tidewater Maryland and Delaware.

Until the late 1950s, thousands took part in singing and praying bands at Methodist churches in Maryland and Delaware. Currently, due to a decrease in participants, on the Sunday when one church holds a meeting, all the current band members come together in that church and hold their service together as one ensemble. At their strongest, today there are 50 participants. Though they sing as one group, they continue to refer to themselves in the plural as "Bands" in order to maintain their distinct church affiliations.

FREE and Open to the Public.   Rev. Joan H. Brooks, Pastor

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