Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #30

Contents

BOSTON’s FATHER TIME

AUGUST WILSON ACTOR HOLDS ON TO NEW LIFE

SOULFUL SOUNDS FROM NEW ORLEANS

STOMP PROVES TO BE A POWERFUL DANCE

AMAZING JOURNEY – LOST BOYS

AGAINST PARENTS WISHES A PERFORMER IS BORN

WRITING FOR FREEDOM

UP-COMING EVENTS


BOSTON’s FATHER TIME

by Kay Bourne

(pictured: Charles “Burt” Walker, Jr. and his wife Mercedes and his great grandson Bernadotte and Mercedes’ granddaughter Kelly Lawrence)

3a755dccf3c5d1a4d397342c34f080ae.84.124 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #30Our “Father Time” is musician/activitist Charles Burton Walker, Jr. “Burt” celebrated his 90th birthday with some 80 or so of his friends and family Sunday afternoon at the Prince Hall Masonic Hall in Grove Hall, Roxbury. Among his important accomplishments with the Masons is the restoration and rededication of the Prince Hall Mystic Cemetery, the only Masonic cemetery in the nation and now included in the National Register of Historic Sites. Walker’s wife Mercedes was the chief planner of the get-together at the hall.

A descendent of sea captain and merchant Paul Cuffee through his mother’s side, Walker comes by his commitment to community naturally. Scholarship on the important African American figure of the late 1700′s and early 1800′s point out how the wealthy ship builder of Buzzards’ Bay established trading links between Britain, Africa, and the U.S. A battler against slavery and an early African nationalist, Cuffee was a visionary.

Walker, born in Malden, Massachusetts, January 9, 1917, was interested in music early on. He learned clarinet in grammar school but went on to become a saxophonist. As a senior in high school, he performed in 1934 at Symphony Hall with the Victorian Concert Orchestra, an all Black, 67- piece band. (That same occasion saw an all Black male chorus of 65 also on the Symphony Hall stage.) Walker was active with the Black Musicians Union # 535 and currently is a Vice President of the New England Jazz Alliance.

Walker qualified for the U.S Postal Service in 1937, retiring in 1983 with Ceremonial Honors from the Post Master General of the U.S. While with the Post Office, he was a founder of the Postal Association of Minority Supervisors for the Boston Postal District.

As Walker thought back over his years as a community builder he offered two pieces of wisdom. “Put into office a person you have faith in that he’ll do the right thing. As soon as I was old enough to vote, I registered.”

His second observation combines music and community. “Working with the New England Jazz Alliance, I hope to get music back in the schools like it was when I was in school. I believe it would keep lots of kids from getting into trouble.”


AUGUST WILSON ACTOR HOLDS ON TO NEW LIFE

by Kay Bourne

(pictured: Cliff Odel and baby)

653d772bdf3b3baeddb462b1c29e93ef.93.124 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #30Baby Georgia Eva Mazzy (GEM) Odle-Perkins came into the world as the New Year bells rang out. Born January 1 at 12:40 a.m. to actor Cliff Odle and his wife Dawna, their GEM of the ocean was the second child born in Rhode Island by three minutes. She weighed 7lbs, 5ozs.

Odle’s specialty is acting in plays by August Wilson. The play “Gem of the Ocean” begins Wilson’s investigation of how Black people have fared in 20th century America.

Cliff’s work in plays by Wilson is extensive. He was Troy Maxon in the Up You Mighty Race production of “Fences” staged at UMASS/Boston. He has performed the soliloquy from the Pulitzer Prize winning drama of taking on death many other times, including a program memorializing Wilson held at Roxbury Community College. Wilson died in 2005, as did his long time producer, Benjamin Mordecai to be followed a year later by Wilson’s first mentor in professional theater and director of “Fences” and other Wilson plays, Lloyd Richards.

Most recently Odle understudied the roles of Elder Joseph Barlow and Sterling Johnson for the Huntington Theater’s production of “Radio Golf.” This is Wilson’s final play in a 10 play cycle about the Black experience in this country in the 20th century, which Wilson finished writing shortly before his passing.

Page 1 of 7 | Next page