TuJuana can picture the pairs of eyes of 300 audience members focusing in on her under the luminous lights. She can hear the once ferocious applause ripple to an anxious silence, and she can feel the warmth of the smiles spread across the stage from the women on either side of her that she calls her sisters.
While the sold out performance at the Baby Grand in Wilmington remains only a vision, the acapella group itself, Sisters in Song, manifested in a similar way.
TuJuana initially asked three of her fellow classmates at Cosmetology school to assist her with an R&B project. This single project evolved into a solid singing group of five women, with varying backgrounds and a common purpose.
TuJuana said on the group’s formation, “I believe God had a plan for us in spite of what we had in mind.”
Based in Wilmington, Sisters in Song, has been performing acapella for over 15 years locally, and has expanded since to parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Tenor Kizzy Saunders, a working mother of four, an assistant teacher at Wilmington Friends School, and a student at Delaware Technical Community College, explained that since joining Sisters in Song, she has become far more confident in her vocal talents.
“I eagerly anticipate the vocal, spiritual, and personal growth that is forthcoming,” she said.
Despite the fact that Kizzy was unable to continue the vocal training she initially pursued prior to being recruited to Sisters in Song, she said that the group has never failed to encourage her in her singing.
“Gaining reassurance that although I am less experienced than the others, I am no less of a person was a great reward,” she said.
While rewards undoubtedly include personal gratification, TuJuana explained that they additionally extend past it. Through the songs that they sing, the women are able to reach their audience in a way that words alone cannot.
“There hasn’t been a program where at least one person hasn’t approached us and expressed how we blessed them with our voices,” she said.
Kizzy compared their roles as singers to that of a comedian.
“Just like a comedian is more funny when you have been through what he is speaking about, that’s the way it is when we minister in song. Knowing that you are not the only one who is struggling in life, no matter the struggle, it gives you more strength to fight through that struggle. That is what we aim to do when we sing for others.”
Kizzy said that even though the group is singing for their audience, they are also singing for themselves. After years of performing, and influencing people’s lives via song, the women do not fail to forget how they’ve affected each other.
This past June, Sisters in Song performed at Galilee United African Methodist Episcopal Church in Avondale, Pennsylvania, where the group had performed 15 years ago for the first time.
Although the group did not repeat any of the original songs they performed on their first debut as a group, the same sense of sisterhood overcame the hall that first drew the women together.
Kizzy said that the connection was instant between the members, and that they were therefore obliged to stick together and continue to strengthen their bond in song.
“I felt blessed to have been placed in their path, or vice-versa, so that I could become a part of such a beautiful, talented, loving group of women,” Kizzy said.
While Kizzy continues to pursue a degree in Early Care and Education, she hopes to one day adopt singing as a full time profession.
With the prospect of recording CDs in the future, Sisters in Song will one day release songs that not only document their journeys as people but their journeys in reaching their goals as a musical group.
However, until that time, the group will continue to practice for the stage that ultimately awaits them behind the heavy velvet curtain of the Baby Grand.