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"The Noshing with Nina Show" Goes to Fisk University

George Cooper

George Cooper

Last October, The Noshing with Nina Show hit the road to Nashville, Tennessee, where Nina was scheduled to perform in the Fisk Jubilee Singers Alumni Heritage Awards concert at Fisk University. The day after the concert, Nina and former Fisk Jubilee Singer George Cooper sat down for a lively discussion in Jubilee Hall, the first permanent structure built in the United States for the purpose of educating freed slaves, with the profits from concerts given by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. George had studied piano with Nina's father, Matthew Kennedy, and sang with the Jubilee Singers while he was director.

Jubilee Hall

Jubilee Hall

Cooper is also the founder of the Ella Sheppard School of Music in Chicago, where students from nineteen months to sixteen years old can have music lessons free of charge. During their conversation, George stresses how important it is for young children to be exposed to music education, and how it positively affects their cognitive skills.

Ella Sheppard (portrait)

Ella Sheppard

George and Nina also discuss the history of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and the importance of Ella Sheppard as an historical figure. Born enslaved, she became a music teacher, composer, performer, and matriarch of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Later in the broadcast, Nina directs the current group of Jubilee Singers in a master class on her father's arrangement of the Spiritual "Steal Away."

Nina Kennedy directing the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Nina directing the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Enjoy this clip of George Cooper and Nina chatting in Jubilee Hall:

If you're in Manhattan, be sure to watch the complete broadcast on Wednesday March 18th at 3:00 pm. on MNN2. Otherwise, livestream at, or watch the full episode at:

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