Sweet Honey in the Rock

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Sweet Honey in the Rock

The internationally acclaimed all female vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock has been inspiring audiences for forty-five years. In the 2018-19 academic year, they join the University of Chicago as the Don Michael Randel Ensemble in Residence.

Founded in 1973 by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, a civil rights activist and former SNCC Freedom Singer, the group has always harbored a deep commitment to social justice issues, which is reflected in their diverse repertoire and colorful performances. Including more than 24 women over its 40-year history, Sweet Honey has fused a cappella singing, interpretive sign language, dance, and theatrical costumes to share positive, loving, and socially conscious messages.

Sweet Honey in the Rock is the third group to be appointed Don Michael Randel Ensemble in Residence, following the Pacifica Quartet from 2013-2016 and Imani Winds from 2016-2018. The residency program, established with a gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, supports an acclaimed musical ensemble for up to three years, providing a permanent home for world-class musicians to engage with the University and Hyde Park communities.

Sweet Honey takes up residence at UChicago for one week each quarter, presenting public and school performance and community workshops as well as working with students in the music department.

Fall Quarter

“Artists Live” panel discussion
Tuesday, November 6 / 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Logan Center for the Arts

The Artists Live series engages a diverse range of artists, at different stages in their careers, in intimate dialogues to explore their personal and professional paths. This evening will provide a creative space for an in-depth conversation that reflects on the journey of the powerful women artists and activists of Sweet Honey. Scholar, activist, and author Barbara Ransby will moderate the panel. Admission is free.

Presented by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, and Logan Center Community Arts, and the Department of Music.

Community Song Circle 
Thursday, November 8 / 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Logan Center for the Arts

Individual artists, community members, and vocal groups are invited to gather together to share and sing songs from the folk/gospel traditions that have been used to energize people around social justice and community transformation. This musical sharing is free and open to the public.

Presented by Logan Center Community Arts, and the Department of Music.

“Arts and Activism” presentation
Friday, November 9 at 4 pm
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

Rooted in African American history and culture, this legendary, all-female vocal ensemble has centered their music in the struggle for social justice throughout its four-decade history.
A question and answer session will follow Sweet Honey's presentation, moderated by Danielle Roper Ph.D, The University of Chicago: Neubauer Family Assistant Professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literature & Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture.
Admission is free.


Presented by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and the Department of Music.

Concert with University Chorus and Women’s Ensemble
Saturday, November 10 at 7:30 pm
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

The female a cappella group Sweet Honey In The Rock has used the power of music to advocate for justice, freedom, and democracy since the 1970s. Their performances of spirituals, blues, gospel, and related world music, have garnered international acclaim. The vibrant and versatile group performs alongside the University of Chicago Chorus and Women’s Ensemble and the Chicago Children's Choir Hyde Park Presto in Sweet Honey's very first concert of a one- year residency.
Admission is free. Donations are accepted at the door: $10 / $5 Students & Children.

Presented by the Department of Music.

Winter Quarter

Concert: An Intimate Evening with Sweet Honey in the Rock
Friday, February 8 at 7:30 pm
Mandel Hall
Tickets: $38 | $30 UCID | $20 Under 35 | $10 Students

In 1973, civil rights activist, musician, and scholar Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon founded the all-female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock on the legacy of the SNCC Freedom Singers (of which Johnson was an original member). Now, 45 years later, Sweet Honey in the Rock continues the fight for freedom with body and voice.

In the 2018/19 season, Sweet Honey in the Rock brings its musicianship and activism to Hyde Park and the University of Chicago as the Don Michael Randel Ensemble in Residence. In winter 2019, the group presents the only solo performance of its residency in the University of Chicago’s Mandel Hall. Celebrated for its vibrant, theatrical performances combining a cappella singing, interpretive sign language, and dance, Sweet Honey brings its signature renditions of American gospel songs, African folk hymns, and freedom songs of the Civil Rights Movement for an intimate evening with UChicago Presents.

Visit tickets.uchicago.edu or call (773) 702-ARTS (2787)

Spring Quarter

Concert with the Chicago Children's Choir
Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 pm
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

Sweet Honey In The Rock joins another renowned offspring of the Civil Rights Movement for its final performance of its UChicago Residency. Founded in Hyde Park in 1956 as a youth outlet of the Civil Rights Movement, the Chicago Children’s Choir has grown to include more than 4,000 children and teens across the City of Chicago. The CCC’s Voice of Chicago choir joins Sweet Honey for a show-stopping performance of gospel and freedom songs.

Admission is free. Donations are accepted at the door: $10 / $5 Students & Children.

Read the announcement of Sweet Honey in the Rock's appointment here.