golden lady writes!
golden lady writes!
As the city kicked off the “Year of Chicago Music,” the Auditorium Theatre celebrated 15 years of presenting "Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah" this past weekend. This concert, which features a soulful rendition of the classical music of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah," is a yearly tradition that honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
According to Dr. King, “Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tells the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music.” This captures the essence of what took place on stage.
There was plenty of excitement as the 100-voice choir, orchestra, and jazz band performed in front of a packed house. The crowd was uplifted as the powerful, anointed voices of the soloists filled the room.
The music was bold, unexpected, and enlightening. It could be described as a perfect blend of jazz, blues, R&B, traditional spirituals, and classical music with a dash of hip-hop, all wrapped up in soul. One moment, there were classical vocals paired with jazz instrumentation. At another point, after an uproarious drum solo, the musicians seamlessly transitioned from jazz to R&B to traditional African rhythm, with a classical finish. Throughout the show, pianist Alvin Waddles gave a compelling performance infused with breathtaking improvisation as his fingers danced across the keys.
The lively finale was a refreshing twist on the “Hallelujah Chorus,” which brought the crowd to its feet.
The Auditorium Theatre, which celebrated its 130th anniversary last year, offers a variety of performances and programs throughout the year. For more information, visit https://www.auditoriumtheatre.org/ or call (312) 801-2312.
#theAud #2020isYOCM #ChiMusic
As a new year and decade have begun, I thought it would be a good time to spotlight some places that I visited during the holiday season in four distinct neighborhoods on the southside of Chicago. These are places where small Black businesses and organizations have a chance to gather together in a common space; easily reach a large number of potential customers and clients; and eventually move to the next level.
AAEGS also serves as a pop-up shop to showcase local businesses, such as Ms. Jetsetter (travel accessories), Chicago Crocheting Cousins (cold weather accessories), Styled Roots (African-inspired accessories), Alkali Crystallic Herbs, ALE Custom Creations and Designs (t-shirts, home decor, etc.), Superhero Huff, Sassy Thrifters, and Little Infused Treats. Vendor events are held throughout the year where you can find a variety of products and services.
Another stop I made during the holiday season was The Silver Room's 3rd annual Connect South Shore, which was packed with vendors, fashion designers, artwork, wellness experts, and nonstop music in several diverse pop-up venues along 71st Street east of Jeffrey Boulevard. Unique and breathtaking works by several local visual artists were on display and available for sale at a The Culture Exhibit created by Roe Melloe, culture catalyst and curator; and the Black Ecstasy As Reality exhibit, curated by Wisdom Baty, creative visionary behind the new Till on 71st Gallery. Artists included Brandy Ydnarb, Norman Teague, Anthony Folks, Edo, and Anwuli Anigbo. You can find them at various galleries, exhibits, vendor fairs, etc., around town.
It was a pleasure interacting with the vendors at the URBAN Luxury Fashion Pop up while listening to the sounds of DJ Bonita Appleblunt. Vendors included Akua Auset (makeup artist/author), The Krafty Chick (African print hair accessories, jewelry, etc.), Tru Lies (underground fashion, custom printing), A. Thomas Enterprises (body creams), The Canary (candles), and Stony Road Productions (visual storytelling, photography).
Also in South Shore is Studio 2226, an elegant, premier event space. Equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities, it is ideal for video production, screenings, and special events.
I learned about a wellnes center located in the Chatham neighborhood, HAJI Healing Salon, while attending Connect South Shore and had the opportunity to speak with Maria Lanier, a.k.a. Sistashamon, one of the Divine Healers at HAJI who teaches Soul Source Dance and Reiki Healing Meditation. HAJI is a hub that promotes healing and transformation through movement, bodywork, etc. I also had a chance to witness Mila Marshall in action as she conducted a Restorative Yoga session. Maintaining wellness is crucial to the survival of the Black community as a whole, so it is imperative that we support healing spaces such as HAJI.
During a Kwanzaa celebration, I discovered The Beverly Hills Marketplace, a true hidden gem with a warm, welcoming environment that feels like home. This place is heaven for the serious vintage shopper, with wall-to-wall antiques to decorate your entire home plus clothing, accessories, and other items for sale by vendors who have set up shop at this location.
There is not enough space and time to mention all the details about these amazing entrepreneurs, creators, builders, community leaders, healers, etc. Fortunately, you can easily find them on the web or social media if you would like to connect with them. Even though several days have been designated as specific shopping days during the holiday season, it is essential that we keep the excitement going and continue to support small, local, Black businesses throughout the year. They help breathe life into, strengthen, and sustain our vibrant communities, and we need them to continue to survive.