Providing grants, programs, and services to the artists and audiences of Tompkins County for over 25 years

Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers Debut at the Kennedy Center!

Dorothy Cotton Jubilee singers board member David Caughey says "We are so grateful to the Community Arts Partnership for their GAP Grant funding over the past four years that has helped us grow to the vibrant organization we are today!"

DCJS is a community chorus dedicated to the preservation and performance of the Negro Spiritual.  The Negro Spiritual has an honored place in American History as the earliest form of American music. Through this music we hear the voice of an uniquely American experience -- the perseverance and triumph of an oppressed people through its indomitable spirit as well as an incomparable ability to sing through its anguish with steadfast faith and unparalleled joy and sorrow. It is the mission of the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers to raise their voices once again in these words and harmonies and to reach for the redemptive powers found in this music for our own times.

The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers have their roots in a community-based chorus founded in 2010 by Artistic Director, Dr. Baruch Whitehead. The chorus has grown from a membership of 22 singers in that first year to more than 80 today. In the early days, membership was drawn almost exclusively from local residents, but today approximately 1/3 of the members are students from the Music and Music Education Departments at Ithaca College.

Highlights of the 2016-17 Program Year include: an Ithaca performance of the Gershwin classic Porgy and Bess in October, with the Ithaca College Orchestra and soloists from Opera Noire of New York City; and, more recently, our May 14, 2017 national premiere on the Millennium Stage of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.  A video of this hour-long Kennedy Center concert of Negro Spirituals and African-American sacred music is archived at:

David continued, "We are grateful for the talent and energy that these young people bring to our family of choristers.  With financial support from the Community Arts Partnership, our loyal fans, and other organizations, we are able to pay ten of these students to serve as Voice Section Leaders, which greatly enhances our rehearsals and allows us to sing more complex music than would normally be expected from a community group that meets for only 2 hours weekly."