Jazz Urbane Cafe, the Longy School of Music, and the Institute of Contemporary Art present: 

Affirmations for a New World 
featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock 

The concert will take place at the ICA/Boston.

Read the performance program

In 1973, Bernice Johnson Reagon founded Sweet Honey in the Rock, an a capella vocal ensemble founded with the mission to empower, educate, and entertain. Fifty years later, the legendary group celebrates in style with a monumental anniversary concert featuring performers from across generations. This unique, collaborative event features musicians from Jazz Urbane’s Imagine Orchestra, students from the Longy School of Music, and the incomparable voices of Sweet Honey in the Rock performing Boston composer William Banfield’s Symphony No. 10: Affirmations led by conductor Julius Williams. The concert also features a powerful, spirit-lifting solo set by Sweet Honey in the Rock. 

For composer Banfield, Affirmations “affirms every great human power we have; love, imagination, fear and courage, the will to change, to dream, to ask questions, [and] to touch someone else’s soul.”  

Both concert events will be sign-language interpreted. 

About Sweet Honey in the Rock

The Grammy-nominated African American vocal ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock® marks its 50th anniversary in November 2023 with a powerful three-year celebration that will honor its storied past and set the course for the future of the group, which has been described as, “one of the most dynamic, versatile, and still relevant musical collectives today.”

Since its inception in Washington, D.C. (1973), Sweet Honey in the Rock has thrived as a performance ensemble founded on the missions of empowerment, education, and entertainment.

Their current roster includes vocalists Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, Aisha Kahlil, Nitanju Bolade Casel, and Rochelle Rice, with Romeir Mendez on upright acoustic/electric bass, and American Sign Language interpreter, Barbara Hunt.

Throughout five decades, the ensemble members have worked to create engaging and socially conscious music that consistently takes an active stance toward making our planet a better place for all in which to live. Their musical landscape embraces multiple genres/generations and addresses civil & human rights, women’s issues, gun violence, death, love, spirituality, children’s songs, and so much more.

About Imagine Orchestra

Created in 1992 by composer Dr. Bill Banfield, the Imagine Orchestra is a Boston hybrid-chamber group with an eclectic modern approach in style and orchestration. Imagine Orchestra is currently ensemble-in-residence at the Longy School of Music. The ensemble’s seminal recording Live at The Landmark (Innona Recordings) brought the group’s work critical praise from industry veterans Dr. Billy Taylor, David Baker, and Maria Schneider.

About Jazz Urbane Cafe

Jazz Urbane Cafe is an urban arts venue, scheduled to open in the fall of 2024, that spotlights the local and national artists who define and celebrate the diverse cultural traditions that make Boston a unique and global city. Our arts program will consist of nightly musical performances from local artists on the Jazz Urbane Recordings label (the Cafe’s sister company) and across greater Boston.  Jazz Urbane Cafe will also offer other presentation modes – ranging from film screenings to dance to dramatic theater to multimedia installations – to provide a holistic presentation of form and expression.

Tastefully complementing our performance series will be an exciting culinary program designed to make the Cafe a full sensory experience.  Our dinner, lunch, catering and takeout menus will feature a fusion of global flavors with many ingredients sourced locally.  The commitment to unique, sensuous flavors made from many local ingredients will extend to the Cafe’s bar program where offerings will include craft spirits and beers and a wine selection curated to be approachable for casual wine drinkers and thrilling for wine lovers.

About the Longy School of Music

The Longy School of Music of Bard College prepares students to make a difference in the world. Through groundbreaking conservatory training, Longy students discover new ways to make their music matter while expanding their vision of what a life in music can mean. Longy welcomes all kinds of musicians, eliminating barriers to ensure access for students who are passionate about changing lives and impacting communities through music. Longy prepares students to meet the challenges of a changing global landscape head-on, giving them the skills to reach new audiences and engage new communities.


  • Accessible and companion seating can be selected when purchasing tickets online, or at the Box Office at 617-478-3103 or visitorservices@icaboston.org.
  • Assistive listening devices are available for all theater programs at the theater entrance.
  • A link to live captioning will be shared by the day of the event and will be available in the theater.
  • ASL interpretation is available by advance request; please contact the Box Office at 617-478-3103 or visitorservices@icaboston.org to make a request.

Are there other access accommodations that would be useful to help you fully participate in this program? Let us know at accessibility@icaboston.org or learn more about Accessibility at the ICA at icaboston.org/accessibility.

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