The Jubilee Singers Perform for the First Time in Glasgow, in the City Hall, on Friday the 3rd of October, 1873

Please note before reading the article below, that it contains words and terms, in common use in the nineteenth century, which may offend

the reader.


An article on page four of The Glasgow Herald, on Saturday the 4th of October, 1873, reads:




The Jubilee Singers from America gave a service of song in the City Hall last night. Notwithstanding the weather,


the hall was quite filled in all parts. The concert took place under the patronage of the Lord Provost and Magistrates.


The Lord Provost was accompanied to the platform, amongst others, by Bailies Craig and Young, the Rev. Drs McEwan,


Cumming, Rev. J. Logan Aikman, and A. Wallace, the Rev. Messrs Somerville and Russell. His Lordship, advancing to


the front of the platform, said he had very great pleasure in introducing the Jubilee Singers. They came to us recommended by


their friends in America, and by persons of the highest distinction in various parts of the country. Of the eleven singers, eight


were emancipated slaves, and three were born free. They came before the public not as professional singers, but as students of


the Fisk University, an institution which had been founded for the education of the coloured race. They had been cordially


received in this country, and he was sure that on their first public appearance in Glasgow they would meet with a hearty greeting.


The audience endorsed his Lordship’s concluding remark by welcoming the young people as they stood up to sing their first hymn.


When the Jubilee Singers first appeared in Scotland, at a private concert given at Wemyss Castle, the residence of Mr John


Burns, we referred at some length to the object of their mission to this country, and also to their style of singing. As they do not claim


to be professional vocalists, we are relieved from the duty of criticism. It would be too much to say that they satisfy the desires of


educated musicians, but there is nevertheless a certain charm in their mode of rendering the simple songs of the plantation which


wins for them the hearty applause of an audience. Last night a number of their songs were encored. “John Brown” was given with great


spirit.  The concluding verse especially, in which the singers hailed in jubilant tones the emancipation of the slave, seemed to create a


feeling of enthusiasm amongst the audience, who insisted upon its repetition. The same mark of appreciation was afterwards more


than once bestowed. In short, the concert was quite successful. One or two solos were given during the evening, the singers being


accompanied on the pianoforte by one of their number. In the course of the second part, the Lord Provost again addressed the assembly,


remarking that the exquisite music to which they had listened would doubtless be long remembered. The feeling of pathos which it


embodied, the delicacy and tenderness of expression which marked its rendering, were equally remarkable, and such as profoundly


impressed the listener. In the Jubilee Singers we had a triumphant proof of the good which had resulted from the abolition


of slavery in America. Glasgow had often expressed its strong desire for the emancipation of the slave, and he felt sure would cordially


join in the effort to elevate the liberated negro. Nothing was better fitted to effect this than the Fisk University, on whose behalf the


Jubilee Singers now came to this country. He understood that concerts were to be given in the City Hall on the evenings of Thursday


and Friday next, and he trusted the citizens would show by their presence on these occasions their practical sympathy with an object


which was worthy of all commendation. (Applause.) The Rev. Mr Somerville also addressed the meeting. We trust the succeeding


concerts of the Jubilee Singers may meet with liberal support.”




George Fairfull-Smith, August 2021.