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This event is perfect for people whose New Year’s resolutions involve having fun, listening to great music and saving money.

Sweet Honey in the Rock – an all-female, African-American, a cappella ensemble – will perform at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts in Flushing on Sunday, Jan. 14, starting at 4 p.m. Tickets are $35, but thanks to an offer from the Queens Tourism Council, QNS readers can get $10 discounts using the promo code ENSEMBLES here.

Sweet Honey in the Rock’s songs and stage actions serve to educate and entertain audiences on African-American history and culture. (They offer simultaneous sign language for the hearing impaired.) With a musical style rooted in Gospel and spirituals, they sing about race, women’s issues, the environment and other political issues.

Since its founding in Washington, D.C., in 1973, the group has released 24 recordings and received three Grammy nominations, while collaborating with artists ranging from Stevie Wonder to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company and the National Symphony Orchestra.

The name derives from the Bible’s Psalm 81:16, which describes the rich land of David. An excerpt from the International Standard Version reads: “But I will feed Israel with the finest wheat, satisfying you with honey from the rock.” Members have changed over the years, but the group currently consists Carol Maillard, Louise Robinson, Nitanju Bolade Casel and Aisha Kahlil. Plus, Romeir Mendez plays upright acoustic bass and electric bass.

The concert is actually part of a larger Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Queens College, where Kupferberg is based. As such, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James will deliver a keynote address, and longtime civil rights activist Hazel N. Dukes will receive an award.

James, who won the race for public advocate in 2013, is the first African-American woman ever elected to a citywide post in New York City. Before that, the Democrat, who is also affiliated with the Working Families Party, had been a City Council member from a Brooklyn district including Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and parts of other nearby neighborhoods.

Dukes led the NAACP from 1989 to 1992 and later served as president of the national organization’s New York City branch. The Alabama native, who moved to the Empire State in 1955, also served as president of the NYC Off-Track Betting Corporation under Mayor David Dinkins and worked on Long Island for the Nassau County Economic Opportunity Commission.

Jackie Arrington-Pinkard from the Greater Queens Chapter of The Links Inc., a nonprofit service organization consisting of almost 14,000 female African-American volunteers, will present the award to Dukes.

The entire celebration will take place at the Colden Auditorium on Reeves Avenue on the Queens College campus.


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