South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
Press Release

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center Presents SOWETO Gospel Choir

Songs of the Free: Celebrating the Centennial of Nelson Mandela’s Birth Thursday, November 15, 7:30 PM

By - Sep 17th, 2018 04:31 pm
SOWETO Gospel Choir. Photo courtesy of the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center.

SOWETO Gospel Choir. Photo courtesy of the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center.

(South Milwaukee, WI) – South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is excited to present the inspiring SOWETO Gospel Choir on Thursday, November 15 at 7:30 pm. Hailing from the town of Soweto (South West Township), the birthplace of the South African democratic movement struggle for freedom, SOWETO Gospel Choir has thrilled audiences around the world with their stunning blend of African gospel, freedom songs and international classics. SOWETO Gospel Choir is a GRAMMY® Award-Winning awe-inspiring 20 member ensemble. Songs of the Free is a program celebrating the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. Songs of the Free was named one of the Top 26 must-see shows in Milwaukee in 2018 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This is a special concert by the choir who performed for Nelson Mandela on many occasions during his life and who sung at his State funeral at home in South Africa as well as at his commemorative service at Westminster Cathedral in London. Prepare to be moved through earthy rhythms and rich harmonies sung in 6 of South Africa’s 11 official languages. This program will uplift your soul through the music and dance of South Africa.

“We are honored and thrilled to be able to present such an awe-inspiring choir. Performing arts have the power to educate, inspire, lift spirits and change lives. We see these things happening for people of all ages at SMPAC, and it’s why the performing arts play a vital role in the community and around the world,” says Rachel Sorce, Executive Director at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center.

At the annual Nelson Mandela lecture in Johannesburg on July 17th of this year where former president Barack Obama and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke, the SOWETO Gospel Choir opened the event by singing the South African National Anthem.

As part of this special presentation, there will be a gallery of photographs by Milwaukee artist Christopher McIntyre Perceptions from his recent visit to Liv Village, a long-term foster care community for youth in Durban, South Africa. Proceeds from the sale of the framed prints will go directly back to Liv Village. Christopher and his wife Jessica are moving from Milwaukee to Durban this month and continuing their humanitarian work there. To support their visit and make a donation.

The Soweto Gospel Choir will also meet and work with the students of South Milwaukee High School for an outreach event during the school day.

“The singing was all gorgeous. The dancing was mesmerising in the way that African dancing can be. ”
-Stage Whispers, Australia

“Nothing can really prepare you for the riot of exuberance and depth of the emotion” –The Scotsman

“This Choir has the spirit of gospel deep in its blood and it shows” –Washington Post

“This performance is joyful exhilaration” –Adelaide Advertiser

“Occasionally, a diamond of such brilliance is unearthed that you find yourself compelled to develop a near-fanatical enthusiasm for it” –Manchester News

“The crowd was held in sway by the sheen and spectacle of a masterful performance”  –Seattle News


Tickets: Adult $49-65, Senior (ages 60+) $45-59, Student (ages 4 thru college) $20-30. Tickets may be purchased online at or through our box office at 414-766-5049 or in person at 901 15th Avenue. Box office hours are M-F (by phone 10-4 and walk-up 10-1). If purchasing in person, ring bell at door #7 and show ID. Sales at the door open one hour before the show, while tickets last.


South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC) provides the greater Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin communities with creative, innovative and diverse performing arts. Located inside of the South Milwaukee School District’s 6-12 campus, it serves students of South Milwaukee and provides professional services for more than 500 performances, rehearsals, classes and other events annually.

Past performances on our stage include Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Vienna Boys Choir, Flamenco Vivo Carlotta Santana, The Violent Femmes, Tommy Emmanuel, Legends Roundtable to Honor “Da Crusher,” Ex Fabula, Cirque Alfonse, The Official Blues Brothers Revue, John McGivern, George Watsky, Donny McCaslin, Robert Glasper, The Zombies, Jean Luc Ponty, Jon Anderson and many, many more.

SMPAC was voted as a top five Best Theatre in City Voter’s Milwaukee A-List Best Of contest in 2016 and 2017, receiving customer reviews such as “Great venue with fabulous events for all ages!” “Excellent and diverse touring artist performances showcased in a comfortable, friendly theatre away from the downtown crowds.” “There is not a bad seat in the house.” SMPAC was named the tri-city South Shore Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Award for 2017.

SMPAC’s annual Performing Arts Series is sponsored in part by the Classic Cargo International Inc., Courtyard Marriott Milwaukee Airport, Skyline Catering & Express Deli, TASC Services LLC., and Ken Cook Co. Performances are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of WI and the National Endowment for the Arts.

SMPAC is located inside of the South Milwaukee School District’s 6-12 campus, at 901 15th Avenue in South Milwaukee between College and Rawson Avenues. It is easily accessible from I-94 and 794. Free parking is available in the northwest parking lot. For events, patrons should enter door #9. For tickets or more information, visit or call (414) 766-5049.

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