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16 Penn Center Circle-West, St. Helena Island, SC

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While performing at the 2016 Spoleto Festival, GRAMMY®-nominated tenor Victor Ryan Robertson was given an out-of-print edition of sheet music of little-known 19th-century Gullah Geechee spirituals from the islands off the coast of his home state of South Carolina. The history, melodies and lyrics resonated with him deeply. In 2022, he invited his friend and colleague – pianist, composer and Georgia native Adrianne Duncan – to set the a cappella melodies to music that reflected their backgrounds in opera, jazz and classical music. Their hope is that this contemporary take on spirituals from the rich Gullah Geechee culture will help preserve and bring forward this profoundly moving music to a new and wider audience.

Robinson and Duncan will perform and discuss their collaborative work, "Gullah Meditations," in a Community Conversation event presented by Culture & Community at the Penn Center National Historic Landmark District, a partnership between St. Helena, SC's historic Penn Center and the UGA Willson Center for Humanities and Arts supported by the Mellon Foundation. Dr. Robert Adams, Penn Center executive director, will moderate an audience conversation with Duncan and Robinson following their performance.

The event will take place in the Frisell Community House at Penn Center, and is free and open to the public with no reservations required.

For more information about Penn Center and its programs, including its upcoming annual gala on April 27, go to

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