The gospel sounds of the Blind Boys of Alabama will fill Dimnent Memorial Chapel at Hope College on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m.
Through the years, the legendary gospel group has won five Grammy Awards, has been granted lifetime achievement awards by both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Grammy Foundation, and has twice been invited by presidents to sing at the White House.
The Blind Boys interpret a wide range, from traditional gospel favorites to contemporary spiritual material, by songwriters including Curtis Mafield, Ben Harper, Eric Clapton, Prince and Tom Waits. With performances airing on “The Tonight Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Grammy Awards,” “60 minutes,” and a PBS special, millions of people have experienced the group.
Recently the Blind Boys of Alabama have been nominated for the First Annual Reader’s Choice Awards by “The Alternate Root!” They are nominated in the category “Best American Roots Group or Duo.” Their well-received 2011 recording release, “Take the High Road,” is the group’s first foray into country music and features artists such as Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr., Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack and The Oak Ridge Boys.
The Blind Boys of Alabama formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939. The group toiled for almost 40 years almost exclusively on the black gospel circuit, playing in churches, auditoriums, and even stadiums across the country. Their recorded output, reaching back to 1948 with their hit “I Can See Everybody’s Mother But Mine” on the Veejay label, is widely recognized as being influential for many gospel, R&B and rock-and-roll artists. The Blind Boys had their own chance to “cross over” to popular music in the 1950s, along with their gospel friend and contemporary Sam Cooke, but stayed true to their calling. In the 1960s, they joined the Civil Rights movement, performing at benefits for Dr. Martin Luther King.
The Blind Boys have appeared on recordings with Bonnie Raitt, Randy Travis, k.d. lang, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Charlie Musselwhite, Susan Tedeschi, Solomon Burke, Marty Stuart, Asleep at the Wheel and many others.
Tickets for the Blind Boys of Alabama are $18 for regular admission, $13 for senior citizens, and $6 for students and children. Tickets are on sale at the ticket office in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890.
The DeVos Fieldhouse is located facing Fairbanks Avenue between Ninth and 11th streets. Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street.