The Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill invite the public to join them at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, when Kim and Reggie Harris share their talents in a special “Concert for Peace” at Reeves Theater, Seton Hill University. Kim and Reggie Harris are dynamic and superbly talented traditional folk performers, whose captivating stage presence and unique harmonies have earned the respect and love of audiences throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe for over 30 years. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity and Seton Hill University, this special performance is part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the canonization of Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Year of Consecrated Life. A free will offering will be taken at the door.
Consummate musicians and storytellers, Kim and Reggie Harris are a mini festival of diversity. Combining traditional African-American spirituals and freedom songs with original folk, they sing of life, love, the quest for freedom, environment, and community. Kim and Reggie combine a strong folk and gospel legacy with a solid background in classical, rock, jazz and pop music.
Julia Trimarchi Cuccaro, Esq., Director of Development for the Sisters of Charity, was taken with the message Kim and Reggie imparted at a Summer 2014 concert she attended. Recognizing their unique ability to entertain audiences of any age and background with blended talents as musicians, educators, and cultural advocates, she was quick to contact them to help celebrate this special year in the history of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill. She explains, “This concert is a perfect way to celebrate the legacy of Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill who are ‘Citizens of the World’, caring for creation and the children of the earth.”
The Harrises’ cultural background as African-Americans is a major component of their repertoire. Spirituals and gospel songs are liberally incorporated in their work, and they are well respected in scholastic circles for their presentations on black history for teachers and students alike. For over two decades, Kim and Reggie have been affiliated with the John F. Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program, offering multimedia educational performances for students and community, “Music and The Underground Railroad” and “Dream Alive.”
As socially conscious acoustic musicians and storytellers, the Harrises “walk the talk, performing modern and historical songs that explore societal ills and proffer positive social messages. Yet no one who has seen the married duo of Kim and Reggie Harris in their hundreds of yearly folk-oriented performances, heard their spirited, purposeful CDs, or learned about the Underground Railroad and Black History through their special concerts and teacher training seminars, would believe the upbeat couple was simultaneously battling Reggie’s ever-worsening, life-threatening autoimmune disease, which required a new liver in 2008. Their 2012 CD, “Resurrection Day,” binds these themes into a profoundly moving personal odyssey of inspiration and hope, adding Reggie’s experience as an organ donor recipient to the social justice palette. Written in the aftermath of his transplant and ongoing recovery, Reggie found his songs had “deepened in theme, subject matter, and in musical tone . . . they’re more direct but more personal.”
In May, 2013, Dr. Kim Harris was awarded her Ph.D. in Liturgy and Music from Union Theological Seminary in New York City for her research into the role of music from the Black Catholic perspective, including Civil Rights history. Earlier in 2013, her music for a Mass based on African-American Spirituals, a collaboration with Roger Holland, was published by GIA in the new Black Catholic Hymnal.
While most of their performances, teaching, and research are done as a team, Reggie Harris has taken a leadership position on the board of the Living Legacy Pilgrimage where he has collaborated with a team of Unitarian ministers in leading eight-day intensive bus tours of the 1963 Freedom Riders and Civil Rights historic sites from Birmingham, Alabama, to Memphis, Tennessee and points in between. With every tour group, Reggie gains as much knowledge and inspiration as he shares in his presentations.
The Philidelphia News touted the music of Kim and Reggie Harris as “music that makes you come alive . . . inspiring a sense of joy and exhilaration that lifts the soul . . . makes you want to sing and celebrate your neighbor!” The Sisters of Charity Concert for Peace promises and evening of inspiration, exhilaration, and celebration of the Setonian heritage as “Citizens of the World.”