This February, Flushing Town Hall celebrates Black History Month (or African American History Month, as it’s also known) with the return of its Black History Trilogy, a three-part series featuring outstanding performers paying tribute to influential African American musicians, dancers, and entertainers.
“I am very excited about the lineup of artists,” says Clyde Bullard, Flushing Town Hall’s Jazz Producer and curator for the Trilogy. “The music presentations are soulful tributes to Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Al Green, Otis Redding, and music from a few of the greatest African American film soundtracks. There will also be an astonishing dance tribute to the Lindy Hop and dances from the Savoy Ballroom.”
Part 1: The Trilogy kicks off on Friday, February 3 at 8PM with The Chuck Berry Rock & Roll Concert Party, featuring an energetic performance from premier vocalist and blues guitarist Keith “The Captain” Gamble in celebration of one of the founding fathers of Rock & Roll.
A singer/songwriter, guitarist, and harmonica player, Keith “The Captain” Gamble’s heart and soul are rooted in blues music. He serves as a guest instructor with Jazzmobile in Harlem and guest artist for the LaGuardia Community College lecture series on the Blues. He is also the co-writer of From the Root to the Fruit – A Chronicle of the Blues, a documentary film that was later staged as a musical production. The Captain has toured throughout Europe and to Zambia and Ghana, commissioned by the US State Department, and he served as lead guitarist and male vocalist for ABC’s “The View” house band, the Mile High Club.
Part 2: The Trilogy continues on Friday, February 10 with The Challenge to Defy Gravity. Audiences will travel back in time to the 1920s Savoy Ballroom to celebrate the gravity-defying contributions of dancers Frankie Manning and Norma Miller, known for their famous Lindy Hop and air steps. Music director Frank Owens teams up with choreographer and dance historian Mickey Davidson to present a dance experience like no other. Audiences will learn swing-era dance moves at the 7PM pre-concert workshop, which they can put into practice at 8PM while enjoying a lively dance performance and concert with special guests Theara J. Ward, Music Director Patience Higgins, The Savoy Swingers, and Harvest Moon Hoppers.
Mickey Davidson is primary choreographer and director for Mickey D. & Friends, a group of dancers and musicians that explores and performs the interlocking relationship between music and dance. From 1993 to 2013 Davidson led the arts-in-education Okra Dance Co., presenting multicultural dance programs in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. She’s taught jazz dance and tap and has served as a visiting lecturer at Wesleyan University for seventeen years.
Davidson has been affiliated with Lindy Hop since 1985 when she started rehearsing with Norma Miller and her Jazz Dancers. Since Norma’s return to Las Vegas, Mickey has maintained the group under the name “Savoy Swingers.” Davison teaches special Lindy Hop and Lindy-related workshops nationally and internationally and frequently partners with Lindy Hop legend Frankie Manning in workshops, live performances, and televised presentations. She was one of three choreographers for the European Tour of the Broadway production of Black and Blue. Davidson. sets and maintained the Swing and Blues choreography inherited from Mr. Manning.
Part 3: The Trilogy concludes on Friday, February 24 at 8PM with Soul men: The Music of Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and More. Extraordinary vocalist Billy Cliff will lead audiences through a fun and funky mix of cinema and soul music history, featuring the works of Isaac Hayes’ composition for Shaft, Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack for Super Fly, and Marvin Gaye’s film score for Trouble Man.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx, Billy Cliff first emerged in the music industry as a background singer for famed vocalist Angela Bofill and platinum recording artist Freddie Jackson. He has also performed with Dianne Reeves, Will Downing, The Shop Boys, and David Byrne of The Talking Heads. He has toured as lead vocalist with the mega rhythm & blues pop grop Kool & The Gang.
In-person tickets for each Trilogy performance are $15 or $12 for Members, Seniors, and Students with ID. Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available.
Black History Trilogy #1: The Chuck Berry Rock & Roll Concert Party
FRI, FEB 3 @ 8:00 PM
Flushing Town Hall kicks off its 2023 Black History Trilogy with a celebration of Chuck Berry, one of the founding fathers of Rock & Roll. Enjoy an energetic night celebrating Berry’s music and legacy with a tribute performance by Keith “The Captain” Gamble, a premier vocalist and blues guitarist.
Black History Trilogy #2: The Challenge to Defy Gravity
FRI, FEB 10 @ 7:00 PM dance workshop; 8:00 PM performance
Travel back in time to the 1920s Savoy Ballroom to celebrate the gravity-defying contributions of Frankie Manning and Norma Miller, known for their famous Lindy Hop and air steps. Music director Frank Owens teams up with choreographer and dance historian Mickey Davidson to present a dance experience like no other. Audiences will learn swing-era dance moves, which they can put into practice while enjoying a lively dance performance and concert with special guests Theara J. Ward, Music Director Patience Higgins, The Savoy Swingers, and Harvest Moon Hoppers.
Black History Trilogy #3: Soul Men: The Music of Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and More
FRI, FEB 24 @ 8:00 PM
Extraordinary vocalist Billy Cliff will lead audiences through a fun and funky mix of cinema and soul music history featuring the works of Isaac Hayes’ composition for Shaft, Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack for Super Fly, and Marvin Gaye’s film score for Trouble Man.
For the venue’s full schedule of 2023 Winter/Springevents, visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/events
Although as of March 7, 2022, New York City has relaxed its COVID policies for indoor arts and entertainment events, Flushing Town Hall will maintain its prior policy for the safety of its audiences, artists, and staff. This policy will remain in effect until further notice: Flushing Town Hall requires all visitors, performers, and staff to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 with matching identification. Additionally, masks will be required at all times. For more details on Flushing Town Hall’s Covid-safety measures and vaccine requirements, please visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/covid-safety.
Support Global Arts with a Gift Today!
All gifts of $50 or more give you exclusive Flushing Town Hall Circle of Friends membership benefits including a Smithsonian membership, ticket discounts, and more! Donations in any amount are appreciated to support the artists and the nonprofit cultural organization as they continue to provide programming and entertainment across New York and the world.
Flushing Town Hall is a not for profit organization and receives major support in 2022 from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim; The City of New York, Mayor Eric Adams; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Laurie Cumbo; Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; The New York City Council, Speaker Adrienne E. Adams and New York City Council Members Sandra Ung, Tiffany Caban, Shekar Krishnan, Linda Lee, Vickie Paladino, Lynn Schulman, and Jessica Won; Howard Gilman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Guru Krupa Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
To view current donor lists, please visit www.flushingtownhall.org/donor-listings
About Flushing Town Hall
Flushing Town Hall (FTH), a Smithsonian affiliate, presents multi-disciplinary global arts that engage and educate the global communities of Queens and New York City in order to foster mutual appreciation. As advocates of arts equity since 1979, we support local, immigrant, national, and international artists, developing partnerships and collaborations that enhance our efforts. As a member of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), we serve to restore, manage and program the historic 1862 landmark on behalf of the City of New York. FTH celebrates the history of Queens as the home of Jazz, by presenting the finest in Jazz performance. We are committed to arts education and hands-on learning, for the arts-curious, arts enthusiasts, and professional artists. We serve one of the most diverse communities in the world and strive to uphold the legacy of inclusiveness that has defined our community since the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657.
Flushing Town Hall is a proud member of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), a collective of 34 nonprofit museums, performing arts centers, historical societies, zoos, and botanical gardens across all five boroughs with a distinct private-public partnership with the City of New York and a commitment to serving all New Yorkers.
Flushing Town Hall acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the Matinecock People, one of the original tribes of New York, and the first people of Flushing, Queens. The Matinecock continue to live and work on this land to this day. Flushing Town Hall honors their elders who have stewarded this land throughout generations.
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