This recording of Wade in the Water was performed live at UMMA in October 2019 by U-M Chamber Choir, under the direction of Eugene Rogers. The program, conceived in connection with Collection Ensemble, included sacred and spiritual music and played on the installation's celebration and critique of community, faith, and the spaces that hold us. “Wade in the Water” is a spiritual that was long associated with the Underground Railroad before it was published in 1901 as part of New Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. It was selected as a response to the focus work of the Water Protocols section, "Chasing a Slaver" by Robert Hopkins. The title informs us that this is a troublesome work, thinking about how many, many ships brought over African people for slavery, and many people died while crossing these waters. The term “water protocol” is actually a medical process for people who have dysphagia, or struggle to swallow. In this section, we are looking at things that might be “difficult to swallow”.
This project is part of an on-going partnership between UMMA and the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, supported by the Katherine Tuck Enrichment Fund and the Greg Hodes and Heidi Hertel Hodes—Partners in the Arts Endowment Fund.