When Centrum first inaugurated the Voice Works gathering, one of our first actions was to invite the Birmingham Sunlights to participate.
The Birmingham Sunlights are a five-man, four-part harmony a cappella gospel group, founded in 1978 by James Alex Taylor, along with his brothers Steve and Barry. Wayne Williams and Bill Graves complete the picture. The Taylor brothers grew up in a musical family and developed their a cappella sound in the Church of Christ. Despite having day jobs as plumbers and pipefitters, the Birmingham Sunlights have appeared in many festivals across the country and on State Department tours around the world.
It was an honor to have the Sunlights at the first Voice Works – and we are excited to welcome them back in 2013. If you love to sing – gospel or no – spending time with these gentlemen will change how you approach your craft. In addition to being terrific ambassadors in a workshop setting, they put on an amazing live show. Their closing public performance from Voice Works in 2005 was one of the most memorable we’ve ever seen at Fort Worden.
Since they were last at Centrum, the Birmingham Sunlights were presented with a National Heritage Fellowship in 2009 – our nation’s highest cultural honor. We think it is well deserved. The NEA has a very interesting interview with the group that we recommend: Art Works Podcast from the National Endowment for the Arts.
But of course, the best way to experience the group is to listen and sing…