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The Sound of the Northwest

ince 1987, The Sound of the Northwest has delighted and inspired audiences throughout the Puget Sound area, from Portland to Bellingham.  The Sound is comprised of a group of singers who are dedicated to the preservation of music from the African American heritage.  According to Juan Huey-Ray, The Sound's director and founder, the Negro Spiritual, more than any other art form, portrays the soul of Black America.  "It captures the faith, hope, love, and charity embodied in our foreparents during one of the worst periods in the history of human interaction.  It was their indomitable spirit which we are able to see in their music that enabled the slaves to transcend the horrors of their daily existence."  The Sound presents arrangements of this music that will bring tears to the eyes, a clap to the hands and joy to the heart!!

 “God gives the heart a voice to sound its joy

and calls it music.”

Upcoming Programs - stay tuned!

Cultural Pursuits will expand its offerings to include opportunities for youth to participate in recovering the past, rediscovering the present, and redefining the future.  Activities will include:

  • Film and digital recording of anecdotal stories as told by living elders in minority communities, and collaboration with others to capture the essence of these stories and use the performing arts and modern technology to preserve them;
  • The production of a documentary on the lives of extraordinary African Americans; e.g., Jester Hairston;
  • The production and syndication of a radio show harking back to the storied Wings Over Jordan with theologians, music historians and others discussing the story(ies) behind the Negro Spiritual; 
  • The production of Scott Joplin's opera, “Treemonisha” and other significant artistic works by African Americans; and
  • The production of original contemporary works including “Cain't No One Know” (CNOK), a theatrical ‘Edutainment’ event designed to entertain the audience while enlightening it on the unexpected ways in which persons can become infected by a life-threatening illness. CNOK features music, dance, poetry, the spoken word, and drama! 

Further, Cultural Pursuits offers

  • Entertaining performances by professional artists in collaboration with The Sound on the lives of noted historical African Americans; e.g., Harriet Tubman and Paul Robeson.  (The artists also offer workshops for teachers and students.)
  • Annual public concerts and other appearances (public and private) by The Sound;
  • A live mini-concert series for children in grades K-12 that presents the Negro Spiritual from a historical perspective (related course materials for classroom instruction and exercises are planned);
  • The continuance of The Sound’s recording project with "The Gift: Love, Part 2" which will focus on the Easter theme – God, the Son, so loved the world that He gave His life for our sins and rose from the grave for our redemption. 


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