NEC’s TRIBUTE TO CALVIN HICKS
CARNIVAL BY LUMPKINS
URT SPELLS HOPE
RINGGOLD’s STORY QUILTS
BLACKSTREET – THE REUNION
SAVE THE DATE – SCARRED JUSTICE
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF – IMPRESSIVE!
BISHOP HARRIS ON HBO & CELEBRATES 20 YEARS
NEC’s TRIBUTE TO CALVIN HICKS
by Kay Bourne
CALVIN L. HICKS walked softly but carried a big love for Black music and Black culture in the seventeen years he served as Director of Community Collaboration and Program Development at New England Conservatory of Music. NEC’s Brown Hall was filled to the brim at a tribute recently to reminisce about how much his devotion to the vision that NEC could expand its programming in that direction has impacted the prestigious music school at 290 Huntington Avenue, and how he will be missed. The nearly three hour program had many emotional highs.
The processional fit for an African king that led him to a seat in the front row was electric as DeAma Battle and Iginaijah Seck, in African garb, danced before him with Akili Jamal Haynes on drums beating a praise tattoo supported by the Chibuzo Music Ensemble and NEC Woodwind and Brass students. Book ending the program was a performance from the superb Makanda Jazz Project, named for Roxbury son, composer/ musician Makanda Ken McIntyre (1931-2001) whom Mr. Hicks brought to NEC for a saxophone and woodwind workshop opened to the community.
Tears welled in many eyes, surely, when speaker David Hall in the sonorous bass of a Paul Robeson, paired with multi-octave singer Athene Wilson-Glover to deliver a spoken word/sung version of the Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar favorite “Wind Beneath My Wings.” The passages indelibly summarized the legacy Mr. Hicks has bequeathed many students in his years at NEC: “Did you ever know that you’re my hero, and ev’rything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle,’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.”
Mayor Thomas M. Menino, whose interest in the children of Boston has hallmarked his terms of office, spoke eloquently and at some length of the impact Mr. Hicks has had on young people.
“In the last seventeen years you have made a huge difference – you always hear of the bad apples but there are thousands of kids in the city like the STEP Program string quartet performers today,” he said. “It’s that they need a little direction. There are no bad kids, just misdirected ones.”
The mayor proclaimed the day, Sunday, February 15, Calvin L. Hicks Day. Other notables who praised Mr. Hicks for his service at NEC were Robert Labarree, chair of the NEC Music History Department. and Director of the NEC Intercultural Institute; Mark Chandler, dean and artistic director of NEC Preparatory and Continuing Education; Mayor E. Denise Simmons of Cambridge; State Rep. Byron Rushing, Cambridge City Councilor Kenneth E. Reeves; and Museum of African American Artists director E. Barry Gaither.
There were chuckles too. Before Mr. Hicks’s sister Marjorie read a stirring tribute to her brother’s steadfast dedication to the well being of his own children, she mischievously recalled growing up with her older, dominating sibling and how she once asked her parents, “Does he have to live here with us?” Also cogent in her remarks was a cousin of their mother, now 102 and living in a nursing home, who was interviewed on film by Mr. Hicks’s daughter Marguerite.
In his own comments, Mr. Hicks in particular mused on the impact on his life of his mother, a political force, and his grandmother, a pillar of the church, and how the two of them seemed bent on enlisting him to their quite different approaches to life. His considerable achievements at NEC would seem to suggest that both of them had their way.
Among these accomplishments are Music for Senior Citizens, the NEC Gospel Chorus (which sang at the tribute), the two hundred member NEC Millenium Gospel Choir; the two day Annual Thomas Dorsey Gospel Jubilee, the conference on Black classical music composer William Still; the Woodwind and Brass Ensemble Program for young people, 4th graders through high school seniors; the Roland Hayes/Marion Anderson Concert Series at the Museum of African American History on Beacon Hill; a tuition assistance program; and a number of institutes including Memory and Society underscoring the themes of displacement, memory and identity with four days of concerts and workshops. The list continues.
CARNIVAL BY LUMPKINS
by Kay Bourne
Art photographer DEREK LUMPKINS gets up close and personal for a series of memorable shots of a Caribbean carnival as the marchers swirl past his lens down the streets of Roxbury.
Only five scenes in all, the small exhibit currently at The Savant Project restaurant through, FEBRUARY 28 is a stunning glimpse of a young artist of promise. This solo outing is the second of Lumpkins’s work hosted by Benny Kraine‘s Brigham Circle area eatery at 1625 Tremont Street, Roxbury. The photographs pop out from the dark wainscoting of the restaurant walls.
You tend to get an overview or long shot with journalistic photography of these heritage parades with their smart-stepping crews of dancers clad in scanty costumes topped off by enormous head pieces adorned with feathers, beads, and glitter that proclaim their island legacy.
By contrast, Lumpkins takes the tight shot – his camera so focuses on one frenzied dancer, for instance, that the close knit group she is marching with becomes so many arms and legs emanating from the Shiva-like center of Lumpkins’s attention.
The photographs are printed digitally (by master photographer Hakim Raquib working side -by-side with Lumpkins). The prints are in a large format, ranging from 25″ x 40″ to 29″ x 40″. Lumpkins has accentuated the carnival excitement by hanging the photographs unframed.
Lumpkins, a Boston Latin graduate who went on to Swarthmore for a degree in English Literature, currently works as a programs and marketing manager for Discover Roxbury, a non-profit based on Fort Hill which leads walking, bike, and trolley tours focusing on Roxbury art and culture. He spent two years teaching English in Japan, followed by studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK, where he earned a Master’s in International Studies and Diplomacy.
The photograph that greets you at The Savant Project, hanging on a wall at your left as you enter the restaurant, has bronze as its theme, with the young women’s skin tones, perfectly tanned. (pictured above). They walk together in the parade, some facing left, some right. It’s August. The light is bright. The day is hot and humid, as another photograph intimates even more dramatically with a dancer who looks wilted before the marching even begins. Lumpkins’s photographs never lose sight of the human being on display yet the emphasis finally and satisfactorily is pattern and rhythm.
URT SPELLS HOPE
by Jessica Kerry
Weaving together three stories of real people for whom learning to read was a struggle, the play “HOW DO YOU SPELL HOPE?” makes the case that literacy is too precious to take for granted. Underground Railway Theater’s production, which runs at the Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue through March 1, combines puppetry and live performance to offer a family-friendly tribute to the written word.
Peter Hammill (VINCENT E. SIDERS) is a fourteen-year-old hockey star whose undiagnosed dyslexia holds him back in school. Marta Gonzales (RAMONA ALEXANDERA), his tutor, has had her own struggle with reading: as a Hispanic immigrant to the United States, her initial inability to read English prevented her from advancing beyond her job as a grocery store cashier. Through her own story and that of Frederick Douglass (also played by Siders), who learned to read as a slave and went on to become a noted author and abolitionist, Marta teaches Peter the importance of literacy and gives him the confidence to surmount his disability.
Written by award-winning Boston playwright MELINDA LOPEZ, “How Do You Spell Hope?” originally opened in 2001 and has toured ever since. This production, directed by URT Artistic Director DEBRA WISE, successfully brings books to life using varied puppetry techniques and a set that functions like a children’s pop-up book, all designed by muralist DAVID FICHTER. Panels fold out and down from the flat surfaces of the set into three-dimensional scenes. Shadow puppetry forms the words and illustrations on a central scrim shaped like an open book.
“How Do You Spell Hope?” has a clear educational bent: in the course of helping Peter understand his difficulty reading, Marta explains the nature of dyslexia and dispels some common misconceptions about the learning disability. The character also points out some of the institutional flaws that amplify the problem, like large class size.
But the main punch it packs is an emotional one. Peter’s academic despair, embodied in an imaginary teacher who maliciously doles out F’s (portrayed by a witchy stick puppet), compellingly demonstrates how bleak the future looks without reading. Literacy, for all three main characters, amounts to hope.
Playing both a teenage boy and a revered historical figure, Siders, who joined the touring production two years ago, excels at switching gears almost instantaneously in vocal tone and body language. He nails Peter’s petulant and slightly hyperactive energy, which disappears from his dignified Douglass as he narrates his autobiography. Alexander, who also plays Sophia Auld, the mistress who taught Douglass the alphabet when he was a child, has somewhat less success bringing her distinct characters to life. While Marta’s warmth (and Hispanic accent) contrast with Sophia’s 19th-century formality, both have an unspecific maternal manner that flattens and bleeds them together.
PENNY BENSON‘s puppets compliment the actors’ performances, standing in for the flights of fancy that books offer and real life cannot. Casting a marionette as the child Frederick Douglass is an inspired choice, both for the sweet image of Siders as Douglass guiding his younger self, and for the strings’ simple metaphor for slavery. Benson’s shadow puppet of a written sentence, which she folds and swirls so the letters move and overlap out of order, illustrates ingeniously how words appear to a dyslexic.
Underground Railway Theater, one of two resident companies at the Central Square Theater, produces plays and puppet spectaculars for adults and children, often with educational themes.
RINGGOLD’s STORY QUILTS
by Jessica Kerry
(Jazz Stories: Mama Can Sing, Papa Can Blow #4, 2004 acrylic on canvas with pieced border)
Currently on view at the Danforth Museum of Art, “FAITH RINGGOLD: Story Quilts” brings rarely seen works by the award-winning African American artist and children’s author to the Framingham gallery through MARCH 1. The exhibit includes five finished story quilts, related sketches and paintings, and a mixed-media soft sculpture.
On February 17, the artist visited the museum at 123 Union Avenue, Framingham to meet children participating in school vacation workshops and delivered a lecture at Framingham State College as part of its Arts and Humanities Series.
Ringgold is most celebrated for her large-scale story quilts, which integrate quilted fabric, painting and narrative text. They are featured in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among others. Her distinctive aesthetic alludes to African and American folk traditions, as well as high modernist art, incorporating a strong sense of Black and female identity. Born in Harlem in 1930, Ringgold studied art at the City College of New York before becoming a public school teacher and a political activist in the late 1960′s and ’70s, protesting institutional exclusion of Black artists.
She has published eleven children’s books and garnered numerous awards. ‘Tar Beach’, her first book, won a Caldecott Medal and a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration in 1991. Her original illustrations for ‘Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky’ are on display in the museum’s Children’s Gallery.
The exhibit’s centerpiece is “Le CafÃ© des Artistes” (1994), a 79.5″ x 90″ story quilt from her “French Collection” series, which depicts notable African American artists, including Ringgold herself, at an outdoor Parisian cafÃ© alongside the giants of French modernism. On loan from a private collection and shown publicly for the first time in ten years, this work links celebrated painters like Gauguin and Van Gogh, whom Ringgold said she was encouraged to copy in art school, with talented black artists ignored by the White mainstream. The quilt fulfills the goals of her early political activism, carving out a space for those artists in the canon of modern art.
The exhibit also includes two quilts from Ringgold’s “Coming to Jones Road” series of 1999-2000, which interprets the artist’s experience of moving to an unfriendly White neighborhood in Englewood, NJ, using stories from the Underground Railroad.
Story quilts and sketches from the recent series “Jazz Stories: Mama Can Sing, Papa Can Blow” (2004) depict glamorous female singers and cool, mustached musicians, taking up one of the most recognized and vital aspects of African American culture.
Ringgold’s use of quilting is loaded with symbolism: as a cultural artifact, the quilt was associated historically with women and slaves who, prevented from learning to read, used them to provide visual cues for storytelling. Ringgold herself learned to quilt from her mother, to whom the technique was passed through generations dating back to the artist’s great-great-grandmother, a slave who made quilts for her owners. Typically classified as a craft rather than a fine art, the quilt also provides an apt metaphor for the marginal position of both women and Blacks in American society.
Originally, however, Ringgold took up the practice as a matter of convenience, not as a political statement. In her lecture, she said she began to paint on quilts because they were easier to transport than the traditional stretched canvas. “They would have the structure, they would be lightweight, they could be shipped anywhere,” she said. “It was wonderful.” This allowed her to send large works to colleges and galleries around the country, reaching an audience outside New York’s exclusive art scene.
The quilts also gave Ringgold a voice in a more literal sense: her first story quilt, created in 1984, was an outlet for the memoirs she couldn’t get published. “I had to put my words on my art to get people to see them,” she said. In the process of earning official recognition, the story quilts also helped make the landscape of contemporary art more democratic. Mixing painting with narrative and folk techniques, tailored to African American themes, they challenged the traditional boundaries of fine art.
In conjunction with the Faith Ringgold exhibit, the Danforth Museum of Art is showing “Mixed Media Fiber Arts,” a collection of works by contemporary artists that incorporate variations on quilting with painting, printmaking and other craft techniques. Works by JACOB LAWRENCE and META WARRICK FULLER, two of the Black artists featured in Ringgold’s “Le CafÃ© des Artistes,” are also on display in adjoining galleries.
BLACKSTREET – THE REUNION
by Kay Bourne
A reconfigured BLACKSTREET thrilled a large turn out, Saturday, February, 21 at Showcase Live with R&B popular songs from its repertoire made edgy by high tech flourishes from musician performer TEDDY RILEY, the group’s founder.
A producer made famous, initially by his contribution to the “New Jack Swing” style, Riley put together Blackstreet after the breakup of his first group Guy. His skilled hand at the mixing board and prescient feel for the next hip beat led to hits for everyone from Bobby Brown “It’s My Prerogative” to Michael Jackson (the album “Dangerous”) – and the crowd was treated to a rendition of hometown celeb Brown’s mega hit and a sampling from “Dangerous” at Showcase Live.
Blackstreet – The Reunion was comprised of the maestro himself Teddy Riley, Chauncey Black, Mark Middleton, and Eric Williams who gave the crowd the tunes they’d come for: “I’m Never Going To Let You Go,” “All Night Long” and “You Belong To Me” (featuring the gorgeous tenor of Mark Middleton). The break-up/make-up history of Blackstreet is a Byzantine back stage drama but whatever happened in Vegas was staying there, apparently, as the four men seemed amiable throughout their 90 minutes together on stage. As to the high tech element, Riley, always on the forefront, seems enamored of sounds that meld man to machine and at Showcase Live, he dabbled with a talk box using a Roland V-Synth GT as the sound source, a musical version of the device that throat surgery patients use to form syllables and a Roland VP550 using the Vocoder setting for harmonics effects.
Showcase Live, a comfortable venue staffed by pleasant and accommodating wait people, brings in music acts that appeal to a variety of tastes. Upcoming, for example, is Leon Russell, Busta Rhymes, an Eric Clapton tribute, David Allan Coe, and Bone Thugs N Harmony.
SAVE THE DATE – SCARRED JUSTICE
NORTHERN LIGHT PRODUCTION presents its New England Premiere of SCARRED JUSTICE: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968, in association with The Color of Film Collaborative, Inc., on Saturday, MARCH 21, 3pm at the Harvard Film Archives, 24 Quincy Street in Cambridge, free and open to the public. More information in the next issue of The Kay Bourne Arts Report. SCARRED JUSTICE trailer
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF – IMPRESSIVE!
by Josiah Crowley © 2009
(Georgia Lyman as Margaret and Kelby T. Akin as Brick
Photo credit: Mark S. Howard )
When Tennessee Williams‘ Pulitzer Prize-winning CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF premeired on Broadway in 1955, there must have been a collective gasp from many quarters. In the “family friendly” Eisenhower America, it was rare that popular entertainment addressed such adult themes. Yet here was the country’s most prominent playwright – eight years after shocking the country with his portrait of the working-class characters of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE – pushing the envelope further, still. This very adult play deals with a woman blatantly using her sexuality to get what she wants; repressed homosexuality; and – gasp! – terminal cancer. First Lady Mamie must have reached for the smelling salts!
When the popular film version was released three years later, the central plot point had been excised, due to the censorship that ruled the arts in 1950′s America (For the same reason, the 1951 film of STREETCAR also lost a lot in its translation to the screen). As a result, the film’s main plot line doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why was Paul Newman constantly resisting his gorgeous screen wife Elizabeth Taylor at her most alluring, in that memorable white slip? All references to repressed homosexuality were removed and bobby-soxed audiences were left to figure out the underlying cause, clearly stated in the play as repressed homosexuality – of Brick (Newman)’s alcoholism. Today, the film is best remembered for strong performances by Taylor, as Maggie – the feral “cat” of the play’s title – and folk singer Burl Ives (who’d never acted prior to CAT‘s original Broadway run), the latter in a powerful performance as this Southern family’s bullying, dying patriarch, Big Daddy.
CAT concerns a dysfunctional family that only Williams could have created. With his sharp skills for creating flamboyant characters, near-poetic dialogue and highly-charged confrontational scenes, the playwright presents one of his best plays with CAT. It revolves around the 65th birthday party of the overbearing Big Daddy, who has announced he is thinking of changing his will.Though his family has hidden the news of his terminal cancer from Big Daddy, he is nobody’s fool. He prefers first-born son Brick, but Big Daddy threatens his favorite child that his estate may be willed to his other son, Gooper, because Brick has not produced a child with Maggie – whereas Gooper has five children (unruly brats referred to by Maggie as “the no-neck monsters”), with a sixth on the way.
Big Daddy’s threat is his way of making Brick get control of his drinking. Brick has been on a round-the-clock bender since the death of his best friend (in a recent drunken escapade, Brick – on crutches throughout the play – attempted to recapture his youthful, athletic days).
Williams’ best plays – and CAT is one of his most accomplished – are great seven-course meals for both theatergoers and actors alike. Unfortunately, at the press performance of The Lyric Stage Co.’s CAT, (through MARCH 14) the audience was left hungry, with the inconsistent level of performances from some of the actors.
The good news is that the cast director Scott Edmiston (who helmed a great Speakeasy Theater Company production of recently discovered Williams play, FIVE BY TEN, a few seasons back) has assembled a talented and clearly hardworking cast. Georgia Lyman, as Maggie, gives a highly-skilled performance, capturing the desperation, humor and loneliness of her character. Cheryl McMahon is both funny and heartbreaking as Big Mama, the passive-aggressive family matriarch. Kelby T. Akin is, unfortunately, bland as Brick (a major flaw for any CAT production). In his return to acting for the first time in many years, The Lyric Stage Company’s artistic director Spiro Veloudos, at the press performance, was unsteady in his acting and not the bulldozing patriarch he should be.
Maggie and Big Daddy – related by marriage, not blood – are the only characters in this play who respect each other. Each understands that the other is controlling and will do anything they have to in order to get what they want. In a play filled with all sorts of monstrous behavior displayed by everyone (from the “no-neck” children to Brick’s cruel rejection and drunken criticism of his wife), there is, Williams assures us, beauty and genuine love. Lyman and McMahon’s work here get this theme across the floodlights loud and clear. Even Mrs. Eisenhower would be impressed with these standout performances.
BISHOP HARRIS ON HBO & CELEBRATES 20 YEARS The RIGHT REVEREND BARBARA C. HARRIS’ celebration in honor of her 20th ANNIVERSARY as the first female bishop in the Anglican church will take place on Saturday, FEBRUARY 28 at The Cathedral Church at St. Paul, 138 Tremont Street, Boston from 10am – noon, followed by a one hour lunch (To register for these send $25.00 check for lunch and donation to B.Safe. Make check payable to Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts at the above address.) Following lunch at 1p.m., there will be a celebratory Eucharist.
HBO debuts THE BLACK LIST Vol. 2 on Thursday, FEBRUARY 26 at 8pm and repeats throughout the month of March. Included in THE BLACK LIST VOL. 2 one hour program are Massachusetts’ own Anglican Bishop BARBARA HARRIS and Govenor DEVAL PATRICK, along with some of today’s most fascinating African-Americans: activist and artist Majora Carter; activist and academic Angela Davis; producer Suzanne de Passe; actor Laurence Fishburne; pastor T.D. Jakes; physician and academic Valerie Montgomery-Rice, M.D.; filmmaker Tyler Perry; singer Charley Pride; fashion designer Patrick Robinson; actress Maya Rudolph; musician RZA; filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles; and artist Kara Walker. BLACKLIST Vol. 2 website
Roxbury Community College’s Summer Arts Intensive Program is currently holding auditions in both Dance and Theatre for young people ages 8-16. If interested in growing as a performer and meeting other young people in the area with common interests, we’d love to meet you! The fee is $200.00 plus $25.00 (non-refundable) registration fee. Please contact Pamela Green at 617-541-5380 to set up a half-hour audition appointment.
Sound Session Sound Search contest at the Black Repertory Company’s Xxodus CafÃ© presents SANTA MAMBA on Thursday, FEBRUARY 26, at 10:30pm. Sound Session Sound Search is a weekly music competition that invites the public to vote for local rising talent to perform in The Providence Sound Session, a 7-day summer music festival, produced by Black Rep in partnership with the City of Providence’s Department of Art, Culture & Tourism. Doors open 9:30 pm. 18+, $5 cover charge. The Black Rep is located at 276 Westminster Street, Providence, RI. Visit its website at www.blackrep.org. For more information about Santa Mamba go to www.santamamba.com
Tell the Governor What Communities of Color WANT, NEED, and DESERVE from the ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE at the PUBLIC HEARING ON THE ECONOMIC STIMULUS , Thursday FEBRUARY 26, 5:30 – 8:30pm at Boston English High, 144 McBride Street, Jamaica Plain. For more information: Call 617-522-3349 A Project of Union of Minority Neighborhoods.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, ORGANIX SOUL Boston invites you to its monthly, live music showcase of up & coming soul, R&B, jazz and spoken word artists from across the country, held at The Holiday Inn, 1374 North Main Street, Randolph, MA. (next to Lombardo’s). This month’s 2 hour showcase starting promptly at 9pm features poet and songwriter, KYRA CLIMBINGBEAR from New Jersey; ABDI from Amherst, MA; and KIANA INDIA. Tickets are $25 advance. Networking & prize giveaways 8:30 – 9 pm. LIVE Music Showcase 9 – 11pm, followed by DJ Nelski spinning the best in classic and current hits. For details click HERE. KBAR READERS EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT: to receive $5 off the $25 ticket price, enter “KBAR” in the discount code when ordering tickets in advance here.
BASS-LINE MOTION presents ‘THE PATH’ at STONEHILL COLLEGE on February 27, 7pm, free and open to the public at the Alumni Hall, 320 Washington Street, Easton. Poetry by Larry Roland. Dancers: Derrick Davis, Stephanie Imbornone, Jeff Louizia, Anita Havel, Adrienne Hawkins, Leslie Salmon-Jones, and Tony Tucker. Musicians: Akili Jamal Haynes and Larry Roland.
PAINTINGS by BOSTON area AFRICAN AMERICAN PAINTERS in the “PAINT – BLACK on CANVAS” will exhibit until FEBRUARY 28 at THE ART GALLERY AT THE BUNKER HILL COMMUNITY COLLEGE. For info call 617-228-2093.
Beginners SABAR DRUM classes, 3 – 4 :30pm every Sunday taught by dynamic master Sabar drummer Babacar Moha Seck, $10 per class, at the YWCA, 7 Temple Street, Central Square, Cambridge, MA. For Info call-617-602-7320 If you have your own drum (sabar or Djembe) bring it.
UNEVEN FAIRWAYS airs FEBRUARY 28, 8:30 p.m. only on THE GOLF CHANNEL. Take a rare glimpse into the Negro Golf Leagues, and the African American men who were forbidden to play golf at its highest level, but refused to take “no” for an answer. Rather than giving up their dreams, they built their own courses, their own tour, and ultimately, their own place in history. While the prize money was slim, each man won something that money couldn’t buy: the chance to play. Join us for Uneven Fairways, a groundbreaking documentary celebrating the men and women who had the courage to follow their dreams-and the skill to make them come true. Delve into golf history told through interviews, never before seen footage, and real-life stories from the history-makers of the game, both past and present. Hear how their stories of courage and perseverance changed golf forever.
AUDITIONS –for an unusual production of Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” (as adapted by Christopher Sergel) are set for the end of February. Director JulieAnn Govang refocuses the play’s assumed central theme (the life and memories of Scout Finch) to what she considers the primary topic: the situation and trial of Tom Robinson. She plans to cast a large number of African American actors to keep her focus in the forefront, including incorporating a gospel choir for pre-show, scene change, and closing music. The show is produced by The Concord Players which has produced three plays a year for the past 50 years. For more info about the auditions email the director at email@example.com or phone her at 978-772-2545.
Berklee’s Africana Studies/Music and Society Initiative presents the Jazz as Culture, Language, Being, and Music series. March 12-Gospel Jazz with Dennis Montgomery and Friends Minister and faculty member Dennis Montgomery presents an evening of gospel jazz at 7:30 p.m. in the David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, free and open to the public.
Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University presents GWEN IFILL, moderated by Callie Crossley, Thursday, MARCH 5, at 6:30-8:00 pm, followed by an open discussion and book signing. Admission is free and open to all at the Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington Street corner of Milk Street, downtown Boston. Wheelchair accessible and conveniently located near the State St. and Downtown Crossing stops on the MBTA. For more information, call the Ford Hall Forum at 617-557-2007.
Berklee College of Music presents SHINING STARS: THE MUSIC OF EARTH, WIND AND FIRE with special guest vocalist PHILIP BAILEY at The Berklee Performance Center, MARCH 7 at 8:15 p.m. General admission tickets are $30 and are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com, and the Berklee Performance Center Box Office, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, 617-747-2261. For more information visit www.berklee.edu/events.
Saturday MARCH 7, 7pm, at Restaurant Laura, 688 Columbia Road, Dorchester, Acclaimed violinist DIANE MONROE (Diane Monroe), duo performance with JOHN KORDALEWSKI on piano. Diane Monroe has performed at major venues throughout the world as both a jazz and classical musician. She was a member of the Uptown String Quartet, which recorded as part of the Max Roach Double Quartet Special multi-course dinner $30 per person, reservations required, so call Restaurant Laura at 617-825-9004 to rsvp.
The Providence Black Repertory Company has reinstated its 2008-2009 season after financial difficulties closed its doors. Opening this week is a U.S. premiere directed by Donald W. King, “A Time of Fire” by Ugandan playwright Charles Mulekwa, running through MARCH 8. The season concludes with August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean.”For more info phone 401-351-0353.
The Massachusetts Chapter Alumni of Florida A & M University (FAMU) is sponsoring a RoundUp for high school students interested in attending Florida A&M University in beautiful Tallahassee, FL, one of the over hundred Historically Black Colleges and Universities referred to as HBCUs. Meet local alumni who will mentor you and answer some of those nagging questions that you may have about choosing and attending college and more. The FAMU ROUND UP will be at the Shelburne Community Center, 2730 Washington Street, Roxbury, MA on Saturday, MARCH 14, 12noon – 2pm. Lunch will be served so please RSVP as soon as possible to Cassie at 617-270-5294 or Shirley at 617-605-0993. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend as well.
THE MAKANDA PROJECT will perform, free and open to the public on Friday, MARCH 13, 7 pm, at Dudley Branch Library auditorium, 65 Warren Street, Roxbury. Featuring special guest Oliver Lake on alto saxophone. Kurtis Rivers - alto saxophone, Sean Berry - tenor saxophone, flute; Lance Bryant – tenor saxophone, flute; Charlie Kohlhase – baritone saxophone; Josiah Woodson - trumpet, flute; Jerry Sabatini – trumpet; Robert Stringer - trombone; Bill Lowe – bass trombone, tuba; Diane Richardson – voice; John Kordalewski - piano; John Lockwood - bass; Yoron Israel – drums;
Jazz@union 2009 is proud to present: “Snap/crackle”: the music of Roy Haynes. The music of this illustrious jazz icon will be performed on MARCH 14 at Union United Methodist Church to celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest jazz drummers the world has ever known. The church is located at 485 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury. Jazz@union concerts, presented by T. Brooks Shepard, begin at 7pm. The Alvin Terry Quartet and Yoron Israel High Standard are featured. General admission is $15, $10 seniors and students w/id. Parking w/free shuttle at NU’s Renaissance garage at Columbus Ave. and Melnea Cass Blvd. For tix info call 617-536-0872.
IRNE award winning singer Will McMillan and pianist Doug Hammer travel back to high school in this benefit concert to help pay for recent renovations to CCAE’s Steinert grand piano. The performance, “Will McMillan: The Kid Inside” takes place Sat., MARCH 14 at 8 pm at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 56 Brattle Street in Harvard Square.
Curtis Henderson releases a new jazz cd, Magic of the Night, and appears at Scullers Jazz Club on Tuesday, MARCH 24 at 8pm. Tickets are $18 at www.scullersjazz.com or by calling Scullers directly at 617-562-4111. Scullers is located in the DoubleTree Guest Suites Boston, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Allston. Featured musicians with Henderson at Scullers: Athene Wilson, guest vocalist, Joseph Davis, Jr. on drums, Anthony Grant on sax and keyboards, Edward Lee on keyboards, Webster Roach on bass, Milton McCarthy on percussion, Ryan Brown on keyboards, Wayne Jones on guitar and Elise and Leslie Jones singing background.
Tickets on sale now for the 30th Anniversary Tour of the 1978 Tony Award-winning Best Musical AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ starring 2003 American Idol Winner Ruben Studdard at the Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Road, Dorchester, APRIL 10 – 12. For info call 617-635-1403.
Oprah Winfrey presents THE COLOR PURPLE, a soul-stirring musical based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the Oscar-nominated film by Steven Spielberg. Tickets on Sale now for THE COLOR PURPLE at the CitiCenter (formerly the Wang Center) JUNE 16-28. For info call 617-532-1116.
Ralph Beach, a long time member of the Boston Afro-American Artists Association (and a resident artist at AAMARP, the African American Master Artists Residency Program at Northeastern University) is reviving BAAA, a 43 year old professional organization that holds exhibits and provides helpful information to its members. Interested in becoming a member of this important affiliation for artists of color? Click here to find more info.