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Margaret A. Hart '35 Gospel Fest 

Friday, October 24, 2008; 7:30 pm
MCLA's Church Street Center 

Join us for this joyous annual event, a benefit to raise funds for the Margaret A. Hart '35 Scholarship Fund. The evening will feature local favorites as well as the Godfathers of a cappella, The Persuasions. Since 1962, the world famous Persuasions, pioneering a capella legends, have amazed audiences with their unique and soulful sound, based in clear gospel roots.

Celebrate the life of Margaret A. Hart, the first person of color to graduate from the college, as we raise funds for a scholarship in her name.  

Produced in association with MCLA's African, Latino, Asian and Native American Association (ALANA).


The PersuasionsThe Persuasions started as five boys singing on street corners, schoolyards and in subway stations of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in 1962. They recorded 19 albums during their 46-year career, and proudly boast that the group contains only original and founding members.

All the Persuasions have a strong history and deep background in church-based music. Their singing, style and musical inventory always has included the heavy influence of gospel, a major measure of soul and a dose of pop.

Over the years, The Persuasions have opened for Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, Ray Charles, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor - to name but a few. Interestingly, acts such as Roseanne Barr and Bruce Springsteen once opened for The Persuasions. The sounds of The Persuasions have been featured in films ranging from Joe Versus the Volcano to The Heartbreak Kid, from Streets of Gold to E.T. They have gone on to become the undisputed kings of a cappella.

"They are to singing what Muhammad Ali was to boxing - invincible, innovating, original, beautiful." - L.A. Weekly 


Margaret A. HartMargaret A. Hart was a life-long resident of Berkshire County and attended both grade and high schools in Williamstown. She was the first student of color to graduate from State Teachers College at North Adams in 1935, now known as Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She received a Master's degree at Columbia University and an honorary doctorate from MCLA in 1996. She taught for three decades in the Pittsfield public schools where she was the first African American to hold such a post. 

This year's recipient of the Margaret A. Hart '35 Scholarship is Cassandra Pierre '09, a MCLA senior majoring in English. Cassandra consistently is on the dean's list and has received numerous awards for academic excellence from ALANA and International Student Programs and Services Office. A writer for the College newspaper, The Beacon, Cassandra has held multiple positions within the MCLA Student Government Association, and is a member of the NEXXUS Step Team, the Public Relations Committee, Dance Company, the Diversity Task Force and sub-committee on Affirmative Action. Whether through dancing or speaking and working for her classmates, Cassandra gives her time and best efforts to make our community a welcoming place. Congratulations Cassandra!




To buy tickets, call 413.662.5204.
To become a member and support this great work, call 413.662.5224.
For more information, call 413.664.8718.