City, museum present Celebration of American Black History

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Voices of Our City Choir will perform at the Celebration of American Black History Through Music Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater. Valley News/Courtesy photo

The city of Temecula and Temecula Valley Museum will present Celebration of American Black History Through Music Saturday, Feb. 29, an evening of “thought-provoking and entertaining music focused on the vocal and artistic expression of music,” according to Chariss Turner, supervisor of community services for Temecula.

“The city of Temecula’s commitment to celebrating American culture is evident through our various programs throughout the year such as the very popular Second Saturday Events at the TVM and First Fridays: Art Off The Walls,” she said. “Celebrating the artistic and cultural contributions of African Americans within our city, across the nation and throughout history fosters a great sense of community and respect for all people.”

The celebration will be hosted by Yve Evans, a Grammy-nominated, classically trained performer, and Kamau Kenyatta, Grammy award-winning producer, arranger and lecturer at the University of California San Diego’s Department of Music.

“The various components of the show are a culmination of the collective efforts of the Temecula Valley Museum, Temecula Presents and Sherry Williams,” Turner said. “Our focus this year was to present inspirational music that leaves you feeling good, inspired and hopeful. We reached out to various choirs, soloists, and musicians to help create another memorable and meaningful experience for our community at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.”

According to Turner, Kenyatta is a regular performer the city’s Jazz at The Merc series which is curated by Williams, an international jazz singer and longtime Temecula resident.

“As a lecturer at the University of California San Diego’s Department of Music, Mr. Kenyatta was thrilled to come and co-host this event and share inspirational music history with our community,” Turner said.

It’s the fourth year that the celebration will be hosted in the theater.

This year, performers include the San Diego-based Voices of Our City Choir, consisting of unsheltered neighbors reconnecting with hope and possibility through the healing power of music.

“Professional musicians, staff and volunteers provide a safe space each week for music-making – this is their ‘outreach’ without it feeling like outreach,” Turner said in a press release. “They offer space and opportunity to the unsheltered community for connectivity through the healing power of group singing, songwriting and guitar workshops. This unique choir will inspire and uplift spirits while igniting hope in your heart.”

Eddie Baltrip and Fulfillment will take the stage next and be followed by Cuban jazz violin virtuoso Dayren Santamaria and up-and-coming gospel artist Frankie Taylor.

When asked what the city hopes the audience will feel when they attend the concert, Turner said, “Unity through cultural understanding and inspiration is our desired goal.

“Please support the Temecula Valley Museum, Old Town Temecula Community Theater and Temecula’s Community Services Department as we continue to grow this engaging, entertaining, and educational annual program,” Turner said.

The Celebration of American Black History Through Music will start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater, 42051 Main Street, in Temecula.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by visiting the theater box office, calling (866) 653-8696 or online at http://tickets.temeculatheater.org.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.