Purchase College, SUNY will celebrate Black History on February 24 at 7 p.m. with Lift Every Voice, a special evening featuring artistic and academic presentations honoring the contributions of such influential figures as James Baldwin and James Weldon Johnson.
The free event will take place at the PepsiCo Theatre at The Performing Arts Center. A public reception will follow.
The culmination of the evening will be the premiere of The Creation, a new dance work based on the Johnson poem of the same name, choreographed for the Purchase Dance Company by professor Kevin Wynn. The performance features live music composed by professor Pete Malinverni for the Soul Voices choir. Comprised of 70 students from a wide range of backgrounds and majors, the ensemble is dedicated to exploring and celebrating the music of the African American experience.
The event will also include members of the Purchase Repertory Theatre in a scene from James Baldwin’s monumental work about Emmett Till, Blues for Mister Charlie, directed by Professor I. Dean Irby. Art history professor Genevieve Hyacinthe will offer remarks about recent events including the Black Lives Matter movement, in light of past historical and cultural precedents.
A photography exhibit by student Joy-Marie Thompson honoring the legacy of African American dancers will be on display as well.
Dean of the School of the Arts, Ravi S. Rajan, feels that, “by creating new work, and calling attention to often ignored moments of our shared history, Purchase honors the past while embracing the future.”