Sacred Ground

SACRED GROUND: Concert & Celebration featuring Leah Suárez + Bare Witness

Leah Suárez and Alex Collier, photo by David Sigmon and Christina Bailey

06 MAY 2017, Saturday
8PM, Doors @ 7:30PM

Circular Congregational Church
Donation, Pay-What-You-Will



150 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401
120 minute performance with intermission.
Reception and celebration to follow, included in ticket purchase.


SACRED GROUND is a concert and celebration, featuring a premiere performance of “Sacred Ground,” a song cycle composed by Leah Suárez, in collaboration with Alex Collier, inspired as a response to that fateful summer night 17 June 2015 at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in the Holy City, in addition to being a source of exploration for the idea that “sacred ground” is where we heal ourselves and, indeed, heal the world. It is the place where we acknowledge, process and transcend our very humanity.

Charleston Place, Althaldensleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

The genesis of Sacred Ground was premiered May 2016 in Haldensleben, Germany, commissioned by the Felix and Caroline von Nathusius Family. This performance was one of two over the period of two days presented by Projekt CHARME, celebrating the 1050th anniversary of the town and the dedication of a timely structure built by students of the American College of the Building Arts (Charleston, SC), blessed, dedicated and named Charleston Place as a gesture of thanks to the students of ACBA and of solidarity with the town of Charleston, as it dealt with the consequences of the Emanuel AME killings with dignity, forgiveness and a spirit of unity which was set a stunning example to communities around the world.

Musician, Leah Suárez, says: ”I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share this musical experience for such a unique occasion in Germany last year. It was especially meaningful to represent my home of Charleston, South Carolina last year and to humbly honor the lives of our brothers and sisters who died in the massacre of 17 June 2015 at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. church. I believe that where we find common ground is where we heal the world. My colleagues and I look forward to being a humble part of that healing energy moving forward through the power of music and premiering Sacred Ground in the Holy City. We are especially grateful to the von Nathusius Family and all who have supported this project for providing a bridge for our worlds to connect.”

This year’s American premiere will be a world premiere of the fully realized treatment of the composition in its entirety. The concert will also include additional music selections in keeping with its theme, rooted in jazz, blues, classical and folk traditions.

SACRED GROUND is a humble offering, dedicated to the EMANUEL 9 – those who paid the ultimate price on that balmy summer night, 17 June 2015, and to the survivors of the Mother Emanuel A.M.E Massacre, whom have graciously carried the burden of bearing witness:

Emanuel 9: The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Myra Thompson;

Survivors: Jennifer Pinckney, Polly Sheppard, Felicia Sanders, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Clementa Pinckney, granddaughter of Felicia Sanders

photo by Leah Suárez


PRE-CONCERT TALK: 04 MAY 2017, Thursday

Charleston Library Society

Sacred Ground: The Call of Humanity and Art of Bearing Witness

Tickets + More Info
This year, Sacred Ground makes its Charleston debut at the Circular Church on 6 May 2017. Two days before what promises to be a beautiful and moving concert, Wide Anglers have the privilege of hearing directly from Leah Suárez on the story of how the piece came to be, and the role (and responsibility) of the artist and citizen to bear witness.


Performing Artists: Leah Suárez, Alex Collier, Gerald Gregory, Bill Carson, Herman Burney, Jr., Jay Ware, Mark Sterbank, John Cobb, Cameron Handel, Vincent Chandler, Lindsay Holler, Alva Anderson, Andrew Mille, Marcus Amaker, and more to be announced.

Music composition and arranging contributions by Leah Suárez, Alex Collier, Joel Holmes, Mitch Butler, Michael Bellar and Bill Carson.

Special thanks to Joel Holmes, Martin Buhl and Kuba Gudz, Berlin-based musicians performing the premiere of Sacred Ground in Haldensleben, Germany, May 2016.

BARE WITNESS is the band for this performance and an ongoing project and collective, led by Leah Suárez, that will continue to evolve, committed to the art of bearing witness. If you are interested in learning more or supporting this project, please contact Leah Suárez directly at


SACRED GROUND is produced and presented by D E L A L U Z  Global with generous support from the Felix and Caroline von Nathusius Family. This project is also funded in part by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Program through their joint administration of the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant Program and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC. This project is also made possible in part by the Charleston Scientific and Cultural Education Fund and with additional support from kind and generous music-loving patrons, dear colleagues, friends and family.

D E L A L U Z  Global (De La Luz, LLC) is a boutique arts and culture production house, creating at the intersection where light meets life.