Kuumba (v.,Swahili): to create.
Since 1970, the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College have been creating not only music but community, connections, and most of all, family. Our family has grown and changed in the last 45 years, but it remains anchored in a place of great power– strength in our past and our hopes for the future. The oldest existing Black organization on Harvard’s campus, Kuumba continues to honor its cultural history and the legacy created by our predecessors through the songs we sing and the community involvement that we emphasize today. Whether you are a prospective member, an alumnus, or an avid supporter, we sincerely appreciate you visiting our site and supporting our work.
Our name, Kuumba, embodies our mission and vision: to proudly proclaim and celebrate the creativity and spirituality of Black people. Kuumba strives to do what we can with what we have to leave a space better than it was when we inherited it. This essence permeates our performances, our community work, and the relationships we build with others. This essence is the vision of the Kuumba Singers.
The past year has been an incredible year of creating for Kuumba. Last fall, Kuumba held a wonderful night of worship and praise with our annual Christmas Concert. Later that winter, the choir had the opportunity to engage significantly with our local community through a newly-introduced Boston area Wintersession Tour. In March 2014, our Black Arts Festival, themed Jumping at the Son, showcased the diverse talent from the African Diaspora to a wider audience. A highlight of the festival was the student-written and produced play, I, Too, Am Harvard, which gave a voice to the oft-unspoken experiences of Black students on campus and sparked a renewed interest in Black activism at Harvard and around the world. The following week was spent engaging with schools and churches throughout Washington, D.C. and reconnecting with alumni during our annual Spring Tour. Finally, we closed out the year with a wonderful night of celebration and song at our annual Spring Concert. During the upcoming year, we aspire to build on all of these successes and continue finding new ways to create and celebrate Black art.
On December 5th and 6th of this year, we will hold our 44th Annual Dr. S. Allen Counter Christmas Concert in Memorial Church in Harvard Yard. In January of 2015, we hope to repeat the success of last year’s Wintersession Tour throughout the Boston area. This upcoming spring, we will also present the 17th annual Dr. Walter J. Leonard Black Arts Festival, an extraordinary weekend celebration of art from the African Diaspora. Following this celebration, we will embark on our Spring Tour in March to spread Kuumba’s vision and mission outside of the greater Boston area. Finally, we invite choir alumni and supporters to join us on April 10-12th, 2015 for a celebration of Kuumba’s 45th Anniversary. This weekend of music and memories will center around the 45th Annual Dean Archie C. Epps Spring Concert, to be held on April 11th in Sanders Theater. These are only a few of the exciting opportunities to see the Kuumba Singers perform during the coming year – we invite you to regularly visit our Events” tab to find out more about what we are up to and where you can expect to see us next.
During its nearly half-century of existence, the Kuumba Singers has achieved extensive accomplishments. Kuumba has served as a safe space and a source of support for its members in the Cambridge and greater Boston community. It has also served as a space for spiritual exploration, creative expression, and cultural understanding. Kuumba maintains its stance as a Black organization that strives to inspire individuals through our musical ministry.
Kuumba is not something that one can simply explain; rather, it is something that one must personally experience. We encourage you to take on this challenge by not only exploring our website and music, but experiencing Kuumba in person as well. We hope that you will support our creative efforts to expand the Kuumba community and to influence the community around us.
Haven Jones, President