Celebrating Black History Month

The Legacy of Louis Armstrong:
“What a Wonderful World”

March 4 Poster - Louie Armstrong concertThe Marcus Shelby Hot 7, the HJF Freedom Jazz Choir and the Healdsburg Jazz Student Choir and Ensemble

When: Friday, March 4, 2016
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Raven Performing Arts Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg
Cost: FREE – Donations Suggested

Information: (707) 433-4644

Healdsburg will celebrate Black History Month with a free community concert at the Raven Theater on Friday, March 4, presented by Healdsburg Jazz. The concert will honor the legacy and music of Louis Armstrong, one of the most influential creative artists of all time and will feature the Marcus Shelby Hot 7 group featuring vocalist Tiffany Austin, the all-volunteer HJF Freedom Jazz Choir, and the young musicians of the Healdsburg Jazz Student Choir and Band.

This is the fourth year of the Freedom Jazz Choir’s participation in Shelby’s Healdsburg concerts. Approximately 80 adult members of this local community choir come together and rehearse in January and February in preparation for the March 4 concert.

Each year the Freedom Jazz Choir focuses on the life and accomplishments of a great America artist by researching, rehearsing, and performing original arrangements and compositions that honor, inform, and celebrate the work of the artist. The goal is to use music to uplift and empower our communities by focusing on the social themes that embody and define the music we are singing. The HJF Freedom Jazz Choir is open to all ages and is funded by the Healdsburg Jazz Music Education program.

With Louis Armstrong, the music will focus on how a young man born into poverty found inspiration in music while in juvenile hall at 11 years old and went on to change the world with his music, humility, humor, and love for all mankind. The spirit of Louis Armstrong is embodied in the song he made famous called “What a Wonderful World”, which will be this year’s theme. The HJF Freedom Jazz Choir will perform Louis Armstrong: What a Wonderful a World with the Marcus Shelby Hot 7, conducted by Marcus Shelby and featuring assistant director Tiffany Austin. Shelby’s Hot 7, in the tradition of Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans jazz bands, will include Joel Behrman on trumpet, James Malone on tenor, Gaea Schell on piano, Greg Wyser-Pratte on drums, and Tomoko Funaki sharing bass duties with Shelby, who also conducts.

The Student Jazz Choir and Ensemble is drawn from Healdsburg area 3-6th graders who participate in the Healdsburg Jazz Black History Month education program, when Shelby will conduct Civil Rights-themed assemblies at eight Healdsburg and Geyserville schools the first week in February. The student choir, free of charge, attends after school rehearsals with Shelby and Tiffany Austin in preparation for the final concerts. During the day on March 4th, all eight schools attend student concert performances that also feature the student choir and band and then all area residents are invited to the evening concert, starting at 7 p.m.

There is no charge for the evening concert but donations to Healdsburg Jazz’s Music Education programs are encouraged. Along with the Black History Month program, Healdsburg Jazz has several other jazz education programs, and offers scholarships and support to area students in music education.