Sweet Honey In The Rock celebrates 40 years with ‘For One Night Only’ concert

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SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK—From left: Standing, Louise Robinson, Nitanju Bolade Casel and Carol Maillard. Seated, Shirley Childress and Aisha Kalil. (Photo by Dwight Carter)

 Sweet Honey in the Rock co-founder Carol Maillard is excited to be returning to Pittsburgh to perform.

“We’re going to be there with our bass player who works with us during our tribute concerts. We wanted to explore and find other ways to express the music,” said Maillard.

SHIR fans needn’t worry, though. They will still get experience the A Capella music that the all-female group is known for.

“We have new renditions of songs that we have done before like ‘Midnight Special’ and Nina Simone’s ‘Feelin’ Good’ and ‘Let There Be Peace.’ We want to make people feel good,” Maillard said.

Sweet Honey in the Rock makes its Pittsburgh return as part of Cohen & Grigsby’s Trust Presents Series for a Nov. 9 performance. Tickets for the event begin at $25 and can be purchased by calling 412-456-6666.

The unique but proud group of women express themselves through various mediums including song, dance and sign language.

Sweet Honey in the Rock started out as a quartet in 1973 at a workshop in the DC Black Repertory Theater Company by Bernice Johnson Reagon, Maillard and one other member. The group got its name from the first song they learned to sing, “Sweet Honey in the Rock,” based on the Biblical psalm.

“Sweet Honey speaks of a land that is so rich that when you break the rocks open, honey flows,” said Johnson who retired from the group in 2004. “We thought it was something like us African-American women: strong like a rock, but inside there’s honey-sweet.”

Sweet Honey in the Rock began performing locally and was soon performing at festivals throughout the United States and Canada before releasing its first album in 1976.

The group will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014.

“We’re trying to put together a show that will pay homage to the 24 women that have been a part of Sweet Honey over the past years,” Maillard said. “We want to put on a fierce show.”

The women are raising money through the fundraising website Indiegogo. The goal is to raise $35,000 to help celebrate the milestone year.

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