Late music director Dr. Paul T. Kwami led Grammy Award-winning Fisk Jubilee Singers – Nashville’s longest-running musical institution – into a musically celebrated modern era. Founded in 1871, the touring group was the first to introduce “black spirituals” to an international audience.


In 1892, Ryman Auditorium (then the Union Gospel Tabernacle) opened its doors to the public and began hosting notable performers – the Fisk Jubilee Singers were among the first. Two of Nashville’s most rooted and influential institutions came together seamlessly. Legendary performers in a legendary venue, both having faced and overcome financial hardship, even closure, to become the cultural sites they are today. 

The Ryman is the Grand Ole Opry's most famous former home, and the venue has long honored the student choir’s legacy. Now, the Opry is honoring its director.