MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For more than 43 years, the Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness has provided music that feeds the soul.

The group is now auditioning new members at the Sabathani Community Center, something that has not been done for years.

“When someone auditions we do a technical portions where they do scales and intervals,” said Sounds of Blackness founder Gary Hines.

The second portion is sitting in with the group to see if their voices mesh.

For group hopefuls like Chanel Perry, just auditioning is a dream come true.

“I think it would be a great opportunity to be part of an ensemble, an organization that’s, first of all, gospel, because it’s my roots,” Perry said.

The group is dedicated to community and tradition.

Jamecia Bennet is lead singer, a position she inherited from the group’s original lead, Ann Nesby, her mother.

“I think all of us kind of take part in the lead, but I kind of get songs of my mom,” Bennett said.

With new blood in the group, Bennet expects the group to do new things.

“You’ll see more of the Sounds of Blackness going into schools and helping young choirs and…young people who want to move forward in the music business,” she said.

The Sounds of Blackness tour all over Europe, Asia, South American and the U.S.

It has already begun reaching out to choirs and ensembles across the area to help train the next generation of singers.

The group is a nonprofit organization. It hopes to get community support so members can continue the work it does all over.


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