Celebrity Series of Boston Neighborhood Arts Presents “Duke Ellington’s Sacred Jazz” in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury

 

The two free concerts will be conducted and directed by Paul White and will feature the Paul White Piano Trio, vocalists from partner churches, members of Boston City Singers, narrators Dolores Handy and Barry Gaither, and tap dancer Shaina Schwartz

Download Photos

Celebrity Series of Boston Neighborhood Arts presents two free concerts of “Duke Ellington’s Sacred Jazz” on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 7:30 pm at Bethel A.M.E. Church, 38 Walk Hill Street, Jamaica Plain and Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 3:00 pm at Roxbury Presbyterian Church, 328 Warren St, Roxbury. Conducted and directed by Boston Performing Artist, Paul White, the concerts engage local musicians and community leaders to perform excerpts from Ellington’s “Sacred Jazz.”

Between 1965 and 1973 Duke Ellington wrote and performed three Sacred Concerts of music which premiered in San Francisco, New York, and London. Though Ellington did not consider these works to be a “Mass,” he did call these concerts "the most important thing I have ever done."

The performances will feature choirs from local churches including, People’s Baptist Church, Bethel A.M.E. Church, and Roxbury Presbyterian Church, featured soloists (Christina DeVaughn, Dr. Debora Jackson, Jonathan Gramling, Missy Holman-Wright, Michael Bradley, Vivian Cooley-Collier) along with members and faculty of the Boston City Singers, and tap dancer Shaina Schwartz. A Jazz Piano Trio (Paul White, Director and Piano; Kaela Kaumeheiwa, Acoustic Bass; and Yoron Israel, Percussion) will anchor the performance. Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist Dolores Handy and Barry Gaither, Executive Director of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, will narrate. Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond from Bethel A.M.E. Church and Reverend Liz Walker from Roxbury Presbyterian Church will open each concert at their respective venues with words of welcome and remarks.

Robin Baker, Associate Director of Community Engagement, says, “The Ellington Sacred Jazz project was suggested by Paul White, local performing artist. I first worked with Paul when I sang in a community choir he directed for Arlington’s MLK Holiday Celebration and was impressed with his musicianship and community initiatives. Given the complexity of the Ellington Sacred Jazz excerpts, we decided it would be wonderful to hold two performances in different neighborhoods of Boston. Bethel A.M.E. Church and Roxbury Presbyterian Church offered to host and participate in the concerts, and People’s Baptist Church, Bethel A.M.E. Church and Roxbury Presbyterian are participating with a number of their musicians. We encourage everyone to join us for these free concerts of moving music in J.P. and Roxbury.”

Interviews: Representatives from the Celebrity Series, the performing artists, and partner organizations are available for phone, email, or in-person interviews about these concerts.

Information for Calendar Listings

Duke Ellington’s Sacred Jazz 
Friday, May 31, 2019, 7:30 pm, Bethel A.M.E. Church, 38 Walk Hill Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 
Saturday, June 1, 2019, 3:00 pm, Roxbury Presbyterian Church 328 Warren St, Roxbury, MA 
Tickets: Free with RSVP 

Celebrity Series of Boston Neighborhood Arts presents excerpts from Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. Between 1965 and 1973 Duke Ellington wrote and performed three Sacred Concerts of music which premiered in San Francisco, New York, and London. Though Ellington did not consider these works to be a “Mass,” he did call these concerts "the most important thing I have ever done."

Performed with an adult choir and soloists from Bethel A.M.E. Church, People’s Baptist Church, Roxbury Presbyterian Church, teens from Boston City Singers, Paul White jazz trio, narrators Dolores Handy and Barry Gaither, and tap dancer Shaina Schwartz. Performances to take place at Bethel A.M.E. Church, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury Presbyterian Church in Roxbury. 

About Celebrity Series of Boston and Neighborhood Arts:

Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. Over the course of its 80-year history, Celebrity Series has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists. From orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, spoken word, and more, Celebrity Series has been bringing great artists to Boston’s major concert halls for eight decades. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experience, transform lives and build better communities. Through its Arts for All! community programs, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience–on stages, on streets, in neighborhoods–everywhere. Neighborhood Arts brings the joy of live performance to people of all ages and abilities, drawing deeply on partnerships with Boston area artists and community organizations to activate neighborhoods with a rich and varied array of opportunities. celebrityseries.org

Support for Arts For All!:

Celebrity Series of Boston is grateful to our 2018-19 Season Sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, and to the many individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose support helps fulfil our mission to present performing artists who inspire and enrich our community. Institutional supporters include the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative, Garbis and Arminé Barsoumian Charitable Foundation, Boston Cultural Council, The Boston Foundation, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, The Catered Affair, Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Deloitte LLP, D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., First Republic Bank, Foley & Lardner LLP, Liberty Mutual Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Outside the Box: A Production of the Boston Arts Summer Institute, The Peabody Foundation, Cynthia and John S. Reed Foundation, Royal Little Family Foundation, Stifler Family Foundation, Tufts Health Plan, and many other supporters. 

Press Contact: Stephanie Janes (617) 419-0445 | stephanie@stephaniejanespr.com