The Story of "The Fiskites & Company, Ensemble A Capella": (Philadelphia, PA)

This small vocal ensemble was founded in February of 1987 by four members of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Germantown, who volunteered to participate in a fundraising "Musicale" for the parish. For the purposes of that afternoon, the four called themselves "The Fiskites" since they all had, for some part of their various collegiate careers, attended Fisk University in Nashville, TN.

As time passed, singers who had not attended Fisk were invited to join the group and they became known as The Fiskites & Company, Ensemble A Capella.

The group adopted as its purposes:

  • First, to call attention to, and urge support for, all historical African-American colleges and universities, (Fisk University first among them), in recognition of these institutions as being repositories of the history, culture and contributions of African-Americans in the United States and also in recogniton of their unique ability to prepare their students to become productive citizens of the modern world.

  • Second, to preserve the "Negro Spiritual" as an indigenous American art form.

    The ensemble lives its purpose. There are seven historically African-American colleges and universities represented among the members; and the group still includes three of the four founding members. More than 90% of the group's earnings has been donated to these institutions and to students in the form of scholarship aid. The Ensemble's repertoire includes a wide variety of musical styles, but the heart is still it's large collection of "Negro Spirituals".

    In November of 1994, the Ensemble accepted an invitation from Music Contact International, Ltd. to participate in ADVENTSING in Munich Germany and Salzburg and Vienna Austria. In Vienna, they were chosen "Best Choir" of that week's 25 choir assemblage. Since returning home, the choir has sung in Washington, DC and several concerts in the Philadelphia area. The choir was also invited to sing at New Years celebrations in Paris, France, Brussels and Bruges Belgium, and Amsterdam, Holland in 1996-97. Their own spirituality is important to these singers and they exhibit that as much in their music as in their care and respect for each other as members of one unique "extended family".

  • An early 1997 tour (2nd tour ) of Europe was scheduled. Ten days were spent singing in Amsterdam, Brussels, Brüge and Paris. Our usual group of dedicated fans accompanied us on this trip. While in Belgium we sang a joint concert with "L'Essenelle" choir, which we hosted in July, 1996.

  • Our third Euopean Tour took us to Rome, Milan, Sienna and other Italian cities in late June of 1998.
    * Tour plannning by "Music Contact International", Burlington VT.

    Many thanks to our tour guide, "Trixie", of "Music Contact International" for a well run tour, our two bus drivers in general, and the two water taxi pilots who guided us safely through a sudden violent storm on the Lagoon of Venice to a safe harbor on the mainland before our last concert.

    Kudos to all!

  • We received a proclamation in October of 1998 from the City Council of the City of Philadelphia, PA, as an unheraleded musical treasure of the city. We are grateful for, and appreciative of the honor.

  • Our Year 2000 tour of the British Isles (tour number 4 ) is in it's planning stages. We hope you can join us for the tour. More information to follow.