Dr. Paul T. Kwami, Director of Fisk Jubilee Singers, Has Died

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photo from Fisk University

Dr. Paul T. Kwami, Musical Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, has died.

Fisk University shared a statement about the passing of Dr. Kwani, stating, ”It is with the heaviest of hearts and the deepest of sorrows that Fisk University today announces the passing of Dr. Paul T. Kwami ’85. Dr. Kwami served as the Musical Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers® from 1994 to 2022. During Dr. Kwami’s twenty-eight-year tenure, the Fisk Jubilee Singers® received the highest musical honors including a GRAMMY award, a Dove Award, a National Medal of the Arts, and an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Dr. Kwami consistently directed performances in the world’s most prestigious venues including at Carnegie Hall, The Ryman Auditorium, The Apollo Theater, and The White House. His musical genius was towering, and his legacy will live forever.”

Dr. Kwami was born in Ghana and came to Fisk University as a student in 1983.

The Ryman Auditorium where the Fisk Jubilee Singers were the second act to take to the stage when it opened back in 1892 shared, “We’re heartbroken at the passing of Dr. Paul T. Kwami, the beloved musical director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers for the past 28 years.A former student of Fisk University, and a performer in the group himself, Dr. Kwami fully embraced the mission of preserving the gospel sound that once inspired the England’s Queen Victoria to declare Nashville a ‘Music City’ over 140 years ago.”

On the passing of Dr. Kwami, Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) said we “are deeply saddened by the death of Dr. Paul T. Kwami, the Musical Director for the Fisk Jubilee Singers®. His passing is a profound loss for the students he served, for Fisk University, and for all of Nashville to which his great work, creativity, and passion has meant so much.”

“It is our privilege and honor to have partnered with Dr. Kwami for more than 14 years in presenting the artistry of the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers to thousands of students in Middle Tennessee and beyond.”

“Dr. Kwami always said there is wonder, joy, and gratitude to be found in everything, and he challenged us to look more closely when we didn’t see it at first. Even in our grief, we celebrate the wonder of his substantial work to share the Fisk Jubilee Singers with Nashville and the world; remember the joy we shared in finishing our film the same day the ensemble was also honored with a Grammy® Award; and are heartened by the gratitude we feel for witnessing how his poise, his vision, and his music touched so many lives over the years.”

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.

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