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Fisk University mourns death of Dr. Paul T. Kwami, beloved Musical Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Dr. Paul T. Kwami passing
Posted at 11:16 AM, Sep 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 11:35:43-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Fisk University is mourning the loss of Dr. Paul Theophilus Kwami, the beloved Fisk Jubliee Singers Musical Director.

Dr. Kwami passed away surrounded by family on Friday, September 10, according to a statement put out by his loved ones.

"To know him was to love, respect and cherish him," the family said. "A natural born mentor, he gave of himself freely to those he cared for and invested in the lives of many with a joyful heart."

Fisk University acknowledged the passing of Dr. Kwami with a statement on Twitter Saturday night.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper also expressed his condolences on Kwami's passing.

Dr. Kwami immigrated to the United States in 1983 from Ghana, West Africa, when he began studying at Fisk University.

He joined the Fisk Jubilee Singers shortly after he began attending the school.

He graduated from the university in 1986 and went on to continue his musical studies at Western Michigan University, where he earned his Masters of Music degree.

He began serving the Fisk Jubilee Singers as the part-time director in 1994 before he joined the university's music department as a full-time faculty member. Dr. Kwami later became the Musical Director for the group, a position he would go on to hold for nearly 30 years.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers have spread joy through the love of music for over 150 years. NewsChannel 5 spoke with Dr. Kwami in April 2022 after a rare discovery was made of the oldest recording of the ensemble.

In 2021 the group made history after winning a Grammy award for their 150th-anniversary album, "Celebrating Fisk."

Ryman Auditorium expressed their grief in a series of tweets.

Funeral arrangements for Dr. Kwami will be announced in the coming days. As arrangements are made, his family asks for privacy during this time of grieving.