To share with audiences throughout Connecticut the music and legacy of pioneering African American female musicians, internationally acclaimed soprano Jolie Rocke Brown has developed a one-woman show sharing the songs and stories of notable performers and musicians.
Singing HERstory pays homage to the life and achievements of inspiring women featured in the banner exhibit, “Sing the Truth: Voices from The Amistad Center for Art & Culture.” Through the entertaining production, audiences celebrate the African American female performance tradition and its impact on the fight for freedom and equality.
“Spanning more than 100 years, these women defined career paths that fed them artistically, financially, and politically as they enriched this nation and the world,” said Jolie Rocke Brown. “It is a privilege to share their music and life’s work with new audiences.”
The music and acclaim of 14 pioneering musicians are portrayed by dynamic and versatile vocalist Jolie Rocke Brown, and accompanying musicians. Through opera, classical music, ballads, spirituals, jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, and pop music, these artists contributed significantly to their times and culture. Artists whose music is featured include Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Ethel Waters, Lena Horne, Lola Falana, Ella Sheppard and Marian Anderson.
The musical program and accompanying historical commentary by Rocke Brown is available to organizations in either a 60-minute production or a 90-minute concert format, and can be accompanied by a series of informational banners outlining the accomplishments of the musicians highlighted in the performance.
“Spanning over 100 years, African American female musicians created a soundtrack for the struggle Civil Rights that shaped this nation continues to reverberate throughout the world. Experiencing their music and legacy through this production, and the extraordinary talent of Jolie Rocke Brown, is a memorable tribute to our culture and HERstory,” said Olivia S. White, Executive Director of The Amistad Center.
The debut of the new performance program is scheduled for Saturday, February 21 at The Ferguson Library at Bedford and Broad Streets in Stamford. In conjunction with the performance, The Ferguson Library, in partnership with The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, Stamford NAACP, Community Collective, and the Mayor’s Multicultural Council, will exhibit Sing the Truth: Voices from The Amistad Center, a banner display of the photographs and short stories of great African American female vocalists. The exhibit will run from February 14 to 28, with support by Friends of The Ferguson Library and a grant from CT Humanities.
The incomparable vocal talent of soprano, Jolie Rocke Brown, has taken her to performance stages that traverse the United States, Europe and Australia. As a recording artist, she has been a featured favorite at several historic Connecticut churches, arts venues, festivals, and community events in addition to local, regional, national and international news, television and radio. She is currently developing a school curriculum based on the historical legacy of the musicians featured in the exhibit and performance.
Additional information, including bookings, can be obtained by contacting Mary Samuels at JRBProductionsLLC@gmail.com or 631-512-6508. Information about Jolie Rocke Brown, including excerpts of her performances can be found at www.jolierockebrown.com.
The structure of the performance program can be customized for specific organizational needs and can be designed to accommodate corporate auditoriums, school or library facilities, lunch-time, after-work or evening performances. It can be accompanied by the banner exhibit for the day of the performance, or an extended two-week exhibition. Though the production is appropriate for any time of year, it may be of particular interest during observances related to Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March.
“Singing HERstory is an ideal opportunity for organizations to celebrate the many contributions of African American women, and to inform and educate employees, clients, and entire community in an entertaining and engaging way,” added Rocke Brown.
The Amistad Center for Art & Culture is dedicated to celebrating art and culture influenced by people of African descent through education, scholarship and social experiences. Its collection of 7,000 works of art, artifacts and ephemera documents nearly the entire history of the literary, artistic, military, enslaved, and free lives of Black people in America and inspires a range of exhibitions and public programs and events.
The Amistad Center is an independently incorporated and managed not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization, located in the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art – a “museum within a museum,” enjoying a unique institutional relationship that facilitates rich cross-cultural conversations between art and audiences.
The Amistad Center’s galleries have been closed for renovation during 2014, and a new, expanded multi-purpose space will be opening on February 14. The Amistad Center is not related to the many other organizations in Connecticut and across the country who share the name Amistad.
Amistad is a popular choice as it remembers a significant event and calls to mind African American strength and history. The Amistad Center website is www.amistadartandculture.org or call 860-838-4133.