World-renown The Aeolians set for rare Bay Area visit


The world-renown The Aeolians of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., are making a rare Bay Area appearance this Sunday.

The acclaimed choir, proclaimed World Champions of 2017, is set to perform at 5 p.m. at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister St. in San Francisco. Admission is free.

Organized by the late Dr. Eva B. Dykes in 1946, the group brings a repertoire of choral music ranging from the Baroque era, to Negro Spirituals, to Contemporary Gospel, and more. The Aeolians “are an authoritative exponent of Negro spirituals and work songs which express the yearnings of our forefathers to be free,” according to Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist and president of the NAACP San Francisco chapter.

Earning a four-peat in HBCU (Historically Black College and University) competitions, along with titles in national and international competitions, the Aeolians debuted for the first time in Northern California last year, performing at Third Baptist. They are led by the notable Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand, an Oakwood graduate.

The choir’s return to the San Francisco church comes at an important time, Rev. Brown said.

Currently, the NAACP’s San Francisco chapter is pushing for reforms at local schools that includes a comprehensive music education program serving the city’s minority students. A recent report found the city’s African American students are falling further behind their white peers. The Aeolians serve as an example of what happens when you enhance education for marginalized African American communities, including English, math and the arts.

“This return visit by the world-class The Aeolians is providing us more than an rare, can’t-miss performance. They serve as an example of what we can accomplish if we can implement a well-rounded, personalized program serving the most underserved families in our community,” Rev. Brown said. “Providing an advantaged education to this city’s dwindling African American population is long overdue.”