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In the spirit

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Black History Month is almost over and some may still be searching for that perfect celebration that combines history and culture. Saturday, Feb. 22, might be one of your best, and last, chances to end the month with a bang. Actually, make that bang more of a wail. The award-winning Together as One Hymn Choir, led by Deacon John Henry Walton and based out of Rock Hill, S.C., will be performing a concert of slavery-era music, the predecessor to traditional gospel music. The powerful a cappella spirituals and metered hymns follow a footbeat rhythm and were sung by slaves during camp meeting revivals. The music is more "drawn out and deliberate than gospel as we know it today," according to event organizer, Kevin Black. In 2002 the choir--made up of roughly 15 men and 25 women--won South Carolina's Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which recognizes lifetime achievement in traditional folk arts--it just so happens, James Brown got the award the same year. Catch 'em Saturday, Feb. 22, 4-6 p.m. at Baptist Grove Church, 7109 Leesville Road, Raleigh. Free to the public. Visit www.hymnchoir.org for more information. --Martina Navrati

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