ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PERFORMANCES
“Ms. Mercury-Clarke has written and presented a program which she has entitled, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing: The Roots of Gospel Music.’ It encompasses her skills as singer, instrumentalist, storyteller, and historian.
The program is uniquely crafted to tell the story of the immigration of Blacks throughout the African Diaspora…Staff, students, and members of the community are in awe of her remarkable talent, and come away feeling more enlightened and appreciative of the historical significance of the people and societies that she has researched and presented.”
J. U. S. Lawrence Heights Middle School Toronto, ON, Canada
“… a dynamic, interactive performance which captivated our students. Through song and story, Ms. Mercury-Clarke helped our students understand the history of gospel music but also reflect on their roots and heritage. She encouraged students to find out about their past and to be proud of their heritage. For the full hour, our students were spellbound. This spilled over into the classroom and prompted many questions and deep discussions.
Although the theme is the history of gospel music, the message of the human struggle and rising above adversity hit a resonant note with our students. This powerful presentation had a profound effect on the students at Parkland P. S.”
V. S. P. Parkland Public School Markham, ON, Canada
“Each of the grade levels took away something different from the performance. I was surprised at the response of the grade 1 & 2 students. They were able to relate much of what they had learned during ‘Black History’ month with your performance.
Your presentation helped them to understand and make real what they had learned in their reading about slavery and the ‘Underground Railroad’. It also opened up discussions about other cultures and the struggles that either they have gone through in the past or that they are presently experiencing.
This is the third time I have had the pleasure of watching your performance. The first two times were in York Region with Junior and Intermediate students [grades 4-8].”
N. K. Leslieville Public School Toronto, ON, Canada
“It exposed our students to a different point of view…a good introduction to the unit on ancient civilizations and alluded to the story of Passover. The interconnections of the peoples of the world were evident and a message of union and goodwill.”
A. E. Bialik Hebrew Day School
SECONDARY SCHOOL PERFORMANCES
“‘Lift Every Voice & Sing!: The Roots of Gospel Music’…At many levels this presentation is truly outstanding. What impressed me most was Ms. Mercury-Clarke’s ability to use her immense musical talents, highlighted by a powerful and enchanting voice, to channel the great accomplishments and enduring struggle of African people. Her passion, pride and commitment to uncover hidden truths without casting blame, and her penchant for challenging her audience…the many themes explored in the presentation are not only relevant, but more importantly, crucial to a balanced and critical examination of history, and its impact on contemporary culture. The presentation encouraged reflection and thoughtful engagement in my students…The combination of music and history has the potential to tap into and illuminate deeper truths about the human condition. Ms. Mercury-Clarke mines this potential in a rigorous and entertaining way.”
A. B. History and Contemporary Studies Department Unionville High School Unionville, ON, Canada
“Creating far more than a ‘dry’ history lesson, Tiki skillfully wove together the story of black slavery, the history of gospel music and a magnificent vocal demonstration of the elements of slave spirituals, into a gripping, dramatic and passionate experience for students and staff. Performing for over 500 students, Tiki captured the audience’s rapt attention.
While she does detail the horrors of the slave trade, Ms. Mercury-Clarke also recounts how people are able to oppose the forces of oppression and racism in a spirit of courage and hope.
When she sings…WOW! Her big, bluesy, Gospel voice is so thrilling it literally gives her audience goosebumps… they “swarmed” her at the end of the performance, as they clamoured to talk to her, scrambled to have their pictures taken with her and waited in line for her autograph…her er performance should be seen in every school in Canada, if not North America.”
L. H. History Department, North Park Secondary School Brampton, ON, Canada
“This year, the African Heritage Committee wanted to ensure that the history would be delivered in a unique way. We were interested in capturing the pre and post records of slavery so that our student body would receive a more balanced and wholelistic perspective of African Heritage history, beginning with continental Africa and moving throughout the generations of the African Diaspora.
Ms. Tiki performed for us “Lift Every Voice & Sing!: The Roots of Gospel Music” to students from grade 9 to OAC [grade 13]. We were deeply moved. Her mesmerizing performances held hundreds of students for an hour as she took us through a history of kingdoms, injustices, and the great struggle of a people. The delicate artistic flavour of her sultry voice and playing of the piano further enticed us to be most attentive. We as the committee were highly impressed at Ms. Tiki’s ability to include so much of the history in such little time. The feedback was tremendous. Both students and teachers alike shared their amazement at the indelible presentation.
…thus making Ms. Tiki’s presentations extremely valuable. They are a critical and effective educational resource and, we think they should be recorded and advertised for further use.”
African Heritage Committee Unionville High School Unionville, ON, Canada
“…alternative high school…The students we serve are poor youth who live independently of their families. They have often had to deal with many personal struggles in their lives such as family breakdown, addictions, abuse, homelessness, sexual choices and/or racial background.
Tiki has worked extensively with our school to research and develop programs and strategies for our three special days to help improve education among black and/or women learners; address issues relating to anti-racism and ethnocultural equity; promote personal and social responsibility; and, foster leadership and citizenship among all students. The work on African history and women’s issues Tiki has done in the past has contributed to the development of an extensive bibliography which has proven to be an extremely valuable resource for Contact Staff.
Our students can identify with the people Tiki portrays and they feel inspired and uplifted by them. Tiki has proven to be an invaluable asset to our school.”
S. C. Alternate School Administrator Toronto, ON, Canada
I can only say she dazzled the school children; no mean feat. She also encouraged and received questions of quality which opened their minds & hearts.
She elated the evening adult audience who were buzzing with praise as they left the auditorium. She displayed professionalism and fine research as well as an abundance of talent. She entertained first and foremost which allowed her to educate and inform…The feedback from the schools was excellent…I cannot speak too highly of her ability to show racism in all its ugliness and at the same time maintain a high quality of entertainment.” K. W. Refugee Committee of St. Mary’s Church Windsor, ON, Canada
“A wide cross-section of people sat spellbound by her voice as she depicted the journey of African Canadians through the Underground Railroad to Canada. The range, melody and texture of her voice captivated the audience…As far as the message was concerned, it celebrated the magnanimity of the human spirit. Despite oppression one need not be defeated. Obstacles that seem insurmountable were faced and overcome. It is a theme that still rings in my mind. Over 50% of the audience were young people. They were greatly impacted for life.”
V. A. S., B. A., M.Ed Educator Minister of Religion & Multicultural Consultant Waterloo, ON, Canada
“Ms. Mercury-Clarke thrilled some 450 attendees at the Concert with historical data on gospel music; including singing, storytelling and piano playing…She was featured in the local news media as a guest artist to Bermuda during Black History Month to perform “Lift Every Voice & Sing: The Roots of Gospel Music”.
Concert goers in Bermuda were treated to an ‘educational evening’ – full of knowledge through ‘Lift Every Voice & Sing: The Roots of Gospel Music’.”
J. & E. S. Southampton, Bermuda
“She is capable of combining the instructive with the melodic, history and social issues with her music, humour and drama.
We all win with this work!”
R. S. Ontario Black History Society Toronto, ON, Canada
“Recently I had the pleasure of having Tiki in our home where I was hosting a fundraising dinner for 10 guests. She performed for us part of her Time, women, and song show and our guest found this a delightful mix, thoughtful and amusing as well, of course, as being musically delightful.
In my professional capacity as Founder and President of the Owl Children’s Trust (TV production, magazine and book publishing for children and families), I have encountered many writers, artists and performers. Tiki, in my books, is right up there at the top.”
A. S. Georgina, ON, Canada
“Tiki’s voice is truly dynamic. Her performance really touches one’s spirit and reinforces the powerful lessons of our ancestors!”
J. & J. W. Kwanzaa Committee Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.