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February 2, 2012

Sinfonietta’s ‘The Gift’ celebrates Black History Month

WEST TERRE HAUTE — The Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra will perform “The Gift,” a concert celebrating Black History Month through music at 3 p.m. on Saturday in the Cecilian Auditorium at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. 

Jeff D. Lorick, director of the Terre Haute Human Relations Commission, will be narrator/emcee for the program.

Lorick has served as director of the commission since 2007 and is a liaison between the citizens of Terre Haute, the business community, and local, state and federal agencies. He also serves on the President’s Council for Diversity at Indiana State University, Ivy Tech College Council of Diversity, the Business Leadership Network, and the Community Reinvestment Board of the Federal Prison. Lorick also is president of the board of Arts Illiana.

The music selected for the concert features musical works of black composers and entertainers.

The first modern successful Broadway show was “Shuffle Along,” which opened in 1921. It was the first show that had a storybook line and music with singing and dancing. “Shuffle Along” also was the first show written, produced, directed and performed by black Americans.

Dixieland is the earliest style of jazz and was developed around the beginning of the 20th century in New Orleans. The orchestra will perform “The Original Dixieland Concerto,” arranged by Johnnie Warrington. Featured performers are L. Edward Harbour and Jan Weber on clarinets, Steve Steppe on cornet, Bill Heinrich on trombone, Doris Pell on piano, Jeff Parkinson on drums, and Julia Ford on string bass.

 William “Smokey” Robinson Jr., who was born in February 1940 in Detroit, is one of the primary figures associated with Motown Records. The orchestra will perform a medley of Motown Hits called “Motown Forever,” which includes “My Girl,” “Stop! In The Name of Love,” “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “I’ll Be There,” all written by Robinson.

Edward Kennedy Ellington known as “Duke” was born in Washington, D.C., and was an American jazz composer, pianist and Big Band leader who was one of the most influential figures in jazz if not all of American music. The orchestra will perform a medley of Ellington’s greatest hits arranged by Calvin Custer.

It would be nearly impossible to overstate Louis Armstrong’s contribution to American music. More than any other single individual, he changed how we play and listen to popular music. Armstrong’s vocal innovations served as a foundation stone for the art of jazz vocal singing. His scat singing style was enriched by his matchless ability as a trumpet soloist. He was the first jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time magazine, in 1949. The orchestra will play “Satchmo! A Tribute to Louis Armstrong.”

James N. Chesterson, music director of the Sinfonietta, noted that the playlist also includes such popular songs as “Ol’ Man River,” “Stormy Weather,” “Summertime” and “Three Times a Lady.” He also advised that tickets are available at the door and admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and children under 10 years will be admitted free.

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