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Higher Ground: A Gospel Musical
by Kevin A. Roberts
Thursday Feb 27th, 2014 2:05 PM
Higher Ground is a gospel musical written and directed by Jessica Anderson, a senior at Stanford from Chicago, IL. The play is a story about the civil rights movement and the way it inspired America and the world.
Jessica Anderson’s Soaring Musical Showcases
Black Student Arts & Bay Area Gospel Music Communities;
“Revitalizing Tradition, Music, and Justice”

On Saturday, March 1, 2014, the Committee on Black Performing Arts presents “Higher Ground: A Gospel Musical”, an original musical on the power of gospel music. Led by Stanford Truman Scholar and renowned singer Jessica Anderson, who wrote, produced, and directed the show, the show will feature a cast that includes the Voices of Bibleway, the heralded Bay Area-based gospel choir, and Talisman, the internationally beloved Stanford student a capella group.

The presentation marks the revival of Stanford’s Committee for Black Performing Arts (CBPA), an arts organization founded in the 1960’s to facilitate change through the expression of art. “Higher Ground” will be presented at Dinkelspiel Auditorium at 7:00PM.

“Higher Ground” will forge new bonds between the university and the community. The show’s large cast and crew consists of Stanford students and members of the Bay Area’s rich gospel music community. The show’s production team include choreographers Robert Moses, leader of the acclaimed Robert Moses Kin dance company, and Stanford alum Denae Hannah, and musical director Shelene Huey-Booker, the director of the Joyful Noise Children’s Choir, head keyboardist Zhiyon Malay, and dramaturg Angela Schiller.

“This is the best way I know how to show the grace, power, and influence of Black Sacred Music,” says Anderson, “through introducing people to the beautiful artists who work in this vibrant, evolving tradition.”

She added, “This music has been so central to my life. I am blessed to be able to share it through a medium true to its original nature. Sound recognizes sound, soul recognizes soul.”

The musical has been years in the making for Anderson, who wrote it largely after spending her last school year working in Cape Town, South Africa, and for the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington D.C. Those experiences allowed her to understand both the deep history and the global influence of gospel music on social justice movements. The five movements of the show will take audience members across four continents and 170 years, ending in the the present-day.

“This time is one both of soaring hope and a desire for justice,” says Anderson, “and ‘Higher Ground’ will reflect all of that.”
This production of “Higher Ground” marks a new era for CBPA, which for four decades served as a center for Black students and arts scholars. Founded in 1968, CBPA produced hundreds of plays, musicals, and art exhibitions of, for, and by Stanford’s African American and Afrodiasporic community. “It’s a great feeling to know that this ground is still here for our generation,” says Anderson. “We hope this will be the beginning of a new era.”

As a graduating African and African American studies major and former director of the Stanford Gospel Choir, Jessica has been passionate in her pursuit to understand Gospel music and social movements. Now she is bringing it to the world. Please join us for this night of emotion, compassion, and grace.

“Higher Ground: A Gospel Musical” by Jessica Anderson
Presented by the Committee on Black Performing Arts
March 1, 2014 at Dinkelspiel Auditorium, 471 Lagunita Drive, Stanford University at 6:30PM doors open.
Seats are first come, first served.

For more information, visit the website at:
Contact:Kevin Roberts, Media Coordinator, kevinr13 [at] or (650) 223-1406
§Photos from the musical, featuring Kadesia Woods an actor and singer
by Kevin A. Roberts Thursday Feb 27th, 2014 2:05 PM