Black Voices Gospel Choir

A journey in song through the black oral tradition


Saturday 22 May 2021, 10am – Sunday 23 May, 4pm


Carol Pemberton MBE and Cecelia Wickham-Anderson


Great Hall, Dartington Trust, South Devon


£146 Non-residential | £262 Residential – see below for information on what’s included

about this course

Black Voices’ work is steeped in the rich legacy of the black oral tradition, centred in early African ‘call and response’, poly-rhythms and slave folksongs – the bedrock of African American sacred music. We share its importance through civil rights history and its influences on contemporary music as shared through the pioneering work of the early Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Black Voices has over 30 years’ experience of delivering courses in ‘Singing in the Black Oral Tradition’. They are renowned for delivering work of quality and also for the easy way they inspire and energise participants to be free in expression, bringing the best out of their voices.


We will use songs to build understanding of the importance of black oral music, its history and purpose, to further nurture its legacy and build appreciation for the form.

This course is a journey of genres and styles, celebrating and re-discovering the hope and dignity singing in the black oral tradition brings. Building a singing community, that connects understanding, spirit and feeling through expression. From ‘call and response’, through to complex choral arrangements, participants are encouraged to practice freedom of expression, whilst remaining true to themselves and the form.

Information for Participants


Lunch will be provided on Saturday and Sunday. These communal meals are a vital part of the learning experience and we strongly recommend you attend them. Tea and coffee will be available throughout the course.

Please make sure that we know any dietary requirements before your arrival. You can let us know by getting in touch with the box office.


Registration and Check-in for Residential Participants is from 3pm on Friday 21 May, in Guest Services, which is located under the Archway to the Main Courtyard at Dartington.

For most of the course you will be based in the Great Hall, Dartington Trust (Number 21 on the core-estate map).

Each day will start at 10am, please make sure that you arrive 15 minutes before the start of the course.

Please note this information is subject to change, please check back here before the start of your course.


Carol Pemberton MBE

As the founder of Black Voices, Carol has used her diverse musical experience in developing the group’s artistic mission. Like many of the singers she looks up to, her first musical experiences were nurtured in the black church where her father was the minister. Carol plays cello, piano, saxophone and a variety of wind instruments – but she admits it’s the beauty and range of the unaccompanied voice that moves her most. “When Black Voices speaks through the power of their voices in the black oral tradition, you see and feel the messages being received”.
Carol was awarded a MBE in 2014 for her services to music.

Cecelia Wickham-Anderson

Celia’s rare bass range contributes much to BV’s unique sound. She is a classically trained musician who also plays cello and piano. Celia has directed her own vocal groups and was a member of the London Adventist Chorale before joining BV. Celia has over 14 years’ experience of leading workshops on behalf of BV. She also leads many community choirs across the UK including Harrow Gospel Choir, Chelmsford Community Choir and Soul Symphony and St Michael’s Community Choirs. Celia and Carol also set up Lichfield Community Choir (still 85 members strong) back in 2005.


On this course, lunch will be provided Saturday and Sunday. These communal meals are a vital part of the learning experience and we strongly recommend you attend them.

Tea and coffee will be available throughout the course.


We recommend that if possible, you stay on-site during your course. All our courses are best experienced holistically: through working, relaxing, eating and staying with other course participants and tutors.

Our beautiful rooms have all the character and personality you’d expect, but not at the expense of comfort. With easy access to our wider estate, they are the perfect place to relax and recharge.

Breakfast and dinner each day – made with fresh, locally-sourced produce by our award-winning team – are included: one less thing to worry about during your stay.

Choose this option by selecting ‘residential’ at checkout (head to ‘Book now’, below). Please note:

– Accommodation is available at a discounted rate for course attendees.
– For this course, you must book for 2 nights, arriving on Friday 21 May 2021 and departing on Sunday 23 May 2021.
– Dinner on Friday, breakfast and dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday morning are all included.
– Check-in for all rooms is from 3pm on the day of arrival.
– Check-out for all departures is 11am on the day of departure.
– Accommodation is booked on a first come, first served basis only.

Book now

We are proud to be COVID-secure. Find out what we're doing to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience here >

Select a time below to begin your online booking. You will receive an e-ticket for this event. Please note that individual orders will be restricted to six tickets per booking (on the assumption this rule will apply post-lockdown). No tickets will be available on the door as the box office remains closed due to Covid-19. You are welcome to email us at with any queries you have.

Offer: Special rate for Dartington Members

Dartington Members will receive a 10% discount, applied when they log in during the checkout process. For more information about Membership, click here (opens in new tab).

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