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Thursday, March 26, 2009

John Hope Franklin


I have the best tantes and tontons in the world. They introduce me to so many people and their ideas by way of books, art and conversation. For example, Aunt Mona has made reference to me about John Hope Franklin so many, many times. She would talk about what a great mind he has, what an “intellect” he is, and why can’t she find a husband like him. I never read anything by him or about him, but it is clear to me that he left an impression on my aunt, my mother, my uncle Marshall and even my grandfather.

I am inviting my readers, 13 and above, to read part or all of John Hope Franklin’s
From Slavery to Freedom. Let’s discover together why John Hope Franklin impressed so many.

John Hope Franklin died yesterday at the age of 94. I recently learned he loved growing orchids, in addition to documenting the lives of African-American people. I am very curious to learn who he was. After reading about him or his work, post your comments, so others can be inspired as well. Thank you, Mona.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The African Children's Choir




This past Saturday, I attended a concert by the African Children’s Choir, at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. This concert was part of the Penn Presents 2008-2009 season. The choir is comprised of children from Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda. The choir performed traditional songs and dances from their home countries.

They were fabulous. Their voices were truly angelic. I could feel what they were saying through their voices even though I did not understand the languages the songs were sung. Also, the drummers were sensational. They were the heartbeat of the choir. The intricate designs and the colorfulness of the costumes worn by the choir complemented the singing, dancing and drumming. Kudos to the costume designers Pricilla Kurutu and Barbara Serungoli.

A hearty thanks also goes to Ray Barnett, an Irish minister, who founded the African Children’s Choir, in 1984, in Uganda. The choir was first made-up of Ugandan orphans and refugee children. Since then, the choir is now comprised of children from several African countries. The money that is raised from the concerts given by the African Children’s Choir goes to fund orphanages and schools and pay for the school tuition of many children in Africa. Today, as a result of the funds raised by the choir, some former choir members who are now adults are doctors, teachers and journalists.
The African Children’s Choir repertoire of songs and dances were varied. My favorite song performed by the choir was Nkosi Sikele, which is the national anthem for South Africa and my favorite dance was the Can Dance which is also from South Africa. This particular dance included a lot of movement with can-shaped objects the singers held in and moved with their hands.
For more information on sponsoring a child, volunteering with the African Children’s Choir, giving to any of their current projects or their concert schedule please contact them at: info@africanchildrenschoir.com , telephone- 1-877-532-865, or visit their website at www.africanchildrenschoir.com



Thursday, March 19, 2009

The World Renowned Morehouse College Glee Club Sings in Philadelphia


I’m back!! It’s my spring break and now I have the time to share many good things starting with last night. OMG-Oh, My God-how amazing and beautiful is the Morehouse College Glee Club. I heard them last night, in Philadelphia, at the Bright Hope Baptist Church. My Uncle Sid, a Morehouse College graduate, treated my family to this performance. If you don’t have a father, brother, uncle, male cousin or neighbor who has attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, you are probably familiar with Morehouse College because this is where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received his undergraduate degree. Morehouse is an all-male, mostly African-American college that continues to educate and produce powerful and prepared young men.

Now, I see why my mother insisted that my 10 year old brother attend the concert. Forget the fact that this choir made me cry and gave me goose bumps because of the beauty-that’s the only word I can use-of the voices, especially those tenors and baritones and basses. But equally moving was not just what you heard, but what you saw-almost eighty, talented, elegant, and diligent and accomplished young BLACK men.

Their musical repertoire included Negro Spirituals, traditional hymns, classical pieces, but the song that brought the house down was Betelemu which is a Nigerian song and the Morehouse Glee Club sung it in Yoruba, accompanied by drums. Below is a video of the choir singing this very song. Click on the link, but remember this video doesn’t compare to hearing and seeing them in person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOMPfb4uyX0&feature=related

At the end of the evening, each member of the chorus said his name, his major at Morehouse and his hometown. They were achieving in every area and they were from everywhere. Then, the many alumni of Morehouse, who were in the audience, were called to join the choir and together they sung The Morehouse College Hymn. The image of these handsome, successful Black men working together is an image that needs to be seen more often.

My little brother has always said he wanted to go to Williams College or University of Pennsylvania or Harvard University. After last night’s concert, he said he might go to Morehouse College first. Thank you, again, Uncle Sid.

This concert was sponsored by The Philadelphia Alumni Chapter of Morehouse College and Bright Hope Baptist Church.

For more information about the Morehouse College Glee Club here is its website:
http://www.mcgclub.com/