All those interested in exploring the rich and varied facets of African American culture are invited to attend two very special Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in early 1997. Music and history will be at center-stage on the evening of January 8, as the Bright Hope Baptist Church Celestial Choir sings spirituals and gospel music in tribute to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring Cecelia Birt, soprano-actress and Gary Giles, orator; Donald Dumpson is the Choir's artistic director. Also appearing will be internationally acclaimed jazz pianist and 1996 Pew Fellowship recipient Dave Burrell, a composer who will perform such rhythmic, original rags "Margy Pargy" and "The Box," as well as standards by George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and others. Programming on January 8 is part of Jazz FM Wednesdays, musical showcases of the best in local jazz that will take place on the first Wednesday night of every month, and hosted by Jazz FM, Temple University Public Radio.
On Wednesday night, February 19, the Museum will host A Family Reunion, a festive look at the African American experience featuring the Women's Sekere Ensemble, an energetic and talented group of female percussionists dedicated to the preservation of African music. Founded and directed by Omomola Iyabunmi, the ensemble performs traditional African and New World singing and drumming using intricately beaded gourds called sekere. The Ensemble captures the essence of secular and percussive music found in Africa and other locales throughout the African diaspora (including Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico). Also featured during A Family Reunion will be Tribe Performing Arts Entertainment's presentation of Voices, a culturally uplifting dance and theater performance, a tour of highlights from the Museum's African American collection, storytelling with Charlotte Blake Alston (presented by Borders Books & Music, Bryn Mawr), a demonstration by woodcarver Robert Douglas Council, and the hit film Waiting to Exhale (presented by the Ritz Theatres Group).
Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art begin at 5:00 and continue to 8:45 p.m. Spotlight Talks are given at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m., and films are shown at 7:10 p.m. Admission to the Museum is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 5 to 17, students with valid I.D., and senior citizens ages 62 and over. All programs are free after Museum admission. Call (215) 684-7860 for information and (215) 684-7506 for a free brochure on Wednesday Night programs.
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