The Heritage Ensemble

The Heritage Ensemble exists to celebrate the culture and history of African Americans through music

Tearing Down Walls And Building Bridges Between All People


People of all cultures will be exposed to the diversity, beauty, richness, and complexity of musical literature born out of the African American experience.  Whether it is through our singing or the message in our music, The Heritage Ensemble strives to tear down walls and build bridges between all people.  This diverse literature – spirituals, blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, work songs, hollers – will be presented in a professional manner for the education and enjoyment of its members as well as for the entertainment and cultural enrichment of the community.


The Heritage Ensemble held its inaugural concert on August 19, 1999, at Dingledine Music Center on the campus of Bradley University.  A core group of performers who had performed together for more than ten years was called upon to become the pivotal community in the Opera Illinois production of Porgy & Bess.  In preparation for this production, we performed “A Concert of Spirituals”.  This production required that we research our rich heritage and develop a deeper appreciation for the rich body of literature that we celebrate as Americans.  This venture marked the beginning of a choral ensemble that is sure to withstand the test of time.  Our mission statement serves as a constant reminder of the important work that lies ahead of this ensemble, especially as it relates to the youth in our community.

The Heritage Ensemble continues to tear down walls and build bridges as we collaborate with other community and civic organizations.  We continue to embrace and nurture the youth in the development of The Youth Heritage Ensemble, serving young people in grades 6- 12.  What a wonderful way to continue service this great community!

Since our inaugural concert, the community has recognized that The Heritage Ensemble sings with a grand purpose — making the community a better place in which to live.  This recognition has come in various ways,  including but not limited to the Sigma Gamma Rho Distinction Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the Central Illinois Interfaith Award, and the Pekin YWCA One Imperative Award.  We are humbled by these prestigious awards, and vow to continue in our quest to ”tear down walls and build bridges” in this community.

How You Can Help

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The Heritage Ensemble

PO box 9467

Peoria, IL 61612-9467

The Heritage Ensemble is a 501(c)(3) not for profit arts organization sponsored in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. Your donation may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes.