The SopranoMatilda Sissieretta JonesDenise Butler February 21, 2011 Dr. Cooper Education Seminar 7:35 pm???The flowers absorb the sunshine because it is their nature. I give out melody because God filled my soul with it???.
Sissieretta JonesMatilda Sissieretta Joyner was born January 5, 1869 in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was the daughter of the late Jeremiah Malachi Joyner, an African Methodist Episcopal Minister and Henrietta Sissieretta Joyner of whom she inherited her soprano voice. Sissierettas family moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1876 when she was just 7 years old for a more improved way of living educational wise and economically. There, she attended Meeting Street and thayer Schools.
In 1883 Sissieretta began her formal training at Providence Academy of Music, studying with Aida Baroness LaComb. At the age of 14, she married David Richard Jones, a newsdealer and a hotel bellman. At age 18, she attended the New England Conservatory in Boston, Ma., studying with Flora Batson, the leading singer of the Bergen Star Company. Sissieretta was singing at an early age at school functions and festivals especially at her fathers Pond Street Church. She began to gain public acclaim very quickly.
In 1887, she sang for 5,000 people in Bostons Music Hall in a benefit for the Parnell Defense Fund where she caught the attention of Concert Managers, Abby Schoffel and Grau.Although Sissieretta made her debut on April 5, 1888 with a concert in New York at the Steinway Hall, Batson received top billing as the ???Queen of Soul??? while Jones was listed as ???Mme S. Jones, New Englands Rising Soprano Star???. Sissieretta did not let that stop her, it was several months later that she got perhaps the biggest break in her career; while performing at the Wallack Theathre in New York, she grabbed the attention of the Manager of famed Italian Prima Donna, Adelina Patti. During this appearance, according to hear-say, that she was reviewed as the ???Black Patti??? and the name stuck despite her distaste for the nickname. In 1896, she was well aware of the racial divide in America and with the guidance of her manager, formed the troupe the ???Black Patti Troubadours???.
Sissieretta Jones choice to form her own company turned out to be a lucrative one. She was assured a 40 week season that would give her an income of $20,000 a year. She had performed for four Presidents in the White House and in front of several audiences throughout her career and has had many blessings bestowed on her including her many medals, 17 to be exact. From 1896 to 1916, The Black Patti Troubadours renamed The Black Patti Musical Comedy Company traveled extensively throughout the country becoming the popular company of its kind.
She brought African American entertainment to audiences who would normally not see these acts; few black entertainers toured the south given the ???Jim Crow??? environment.Sissieretta gave two final performances at The Grand Theatre in Chicago and at the Lafayette Theatre in New york City in October, 1915. She promised her audience that she would return but never did. She returned home to Providence, R.
I a t the age of 46 to care for her ailing mother. She also devoted her time to assisting at her Church, and taking in homeless children. Sissiertta Jones lost her battle to cancer at the age of 74.
???It matters not to them what is the color of an artiss skin. If a man or a woman is a great actor, or a great musician, or a great singer, they wil extend a warm welcome..
. It is the soul they see, not the color of the skin???. Sissieretta Jones References www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/jones-sis.htm>Story, Rosalyn M. African American Divas of Opera and Concert.
Amistad Pres, 1993