In 1940, Kenneth Brown Billups, founded a choral group choosing the name, The Legend Singers Choral Ensemble. The group consisted of eighteen singers who were enrolled in the National Youth Act Music Project, a program of the Works Progress Administration, directed by Billups.
Over the years, the Legend Singers performed with such groups as the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Illinois University Symphony, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The Legend Singers performed at the Missouri Historical Society’s ninetieth anniversary dinner in 1956 and at the Kiel Opera House for a bicentennial program titled “200 Years of Black Music” in 1976. Throughout their history, The Legend Singers performed with guest performers and clinicians the likes of Johnny Coles “The Jazz Trumpeter”, Lena McLin, Jester Hairston and Brazeal Dennard and Nathan Carter, to name a few. Today, The Legend Singers still perform with the same excellence that Dr. Billups demanded of his choir over 80 years ago, when he founded the group.
Music with a Mission.
Voices with a Message.
The mission of The Legend Singers is to
Perform and preserve the music and performance practices of African Americans;
Perform music by non-African American composers who have been influenced by African American music forms and performance practices;
Develop outreach programs that educate the community and public and to continue the tradition of excellence in artistic performance of African American choral music.