Summer 2015

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Campus Life
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama join Soul4Real in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House prior to a Christmas holiday reception in December 2014. Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy.

Soul4Real Hits the High Notes

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Northwestern boasts a robust a cappella music scene, but Soul4Real stands out among the dozen or more groups on campus. Established in 2009 to create a space for African American music and voices on campus, Soul4Real remains the only group of its kind at Northwestern.

“We are the only group that specializes in R&B, gospel and Negro spirituals,” says junior Simedar Jackson, the incoming president of the group. “If you want to sing some Lauryn Hill or Prince, Soul4Real is really the only place for that at Northwestern.”

The group performs regularly throughout the year, with a winter showcase and spring concert and appearances at various events, including the University’s commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Harambee, the annual celebration of black culture from across the diaspora.

This past December Soul4Real performed at the White House for President Barack Obama ’06 H and the first lady as part of a series of performances hosted by the executive mansion throughout the holiday season.

“That was the first time Soul4Real did something like that, and hopefully it won’t be the last,” says Jackson, who joined the group as a freshman. “The members have become my family,” she adds, “and I feel like the group is my baby. I just want to keep it alive and thriving.”