Historic Stagville’s Jubilee Music Festival Features a Capella and Old Time Sounds


Uplifting harmonies and soulful rhythms await visitors to the Historic Stagville Jubilee Music Festival Saturday, July 15, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The free program will offer live performances of traditional gospel music and old-time fiddle and banjo music once common in the African American community.

The youngest performers will share the old-time music as the duo Fiddlestix. Elle Moazenzedeh, age 15, and Nia Gadson, age 14, are students of Justin Robinson, one of the original Carolina Chocolate Drops, who returned public attention to African American old-time string music nearly a decade ago. Elle has been playing for nine years, switching from classical violin to traditional fiddle music five years ago, and Nia has played banjo since she was age 9. They perform throughout North Carolina and are keeping this important genre alive.

Teens with a vision formed the Truly Anointed gospel ensemble in 1988, with a vision and mission for Christ to be shared. For nearly 30 years the performances of anointed music have helped spread the word of God’s love through song.

The Southside Church of Christ Choir is an a cappella chorus from Durham. This is a form originating in Europe as church music in the 15th century. It relies solely on voice without instrumental accompaniment and has deep roots in the African-American community in both gospel and secular music.

Historic Stagville was once the plantation of the Bennehan-Cameron family and covered almost 30,000 acres and held 900 enslaved workers. Today it includes 71 acres, the Bennehan house, a Revolutionary-  era farmhouse, four rare slave houses and a large agricultural barn built by enslaved craftsmen.

For more information, please contact Historic Stagville at (919) 620-0120. Historic Stagville is located at 5828 Old Oxford Highway, Durham. It is within the Division of State Historic Sites of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. 

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