Richmond concert aims to honor African American musicians, educators

Originally published by WEKU.


“An Evening of Elegance,” a yearly concert in Richmond, is honoring African American musicians and educators from across the Commonwealth.

The event is co-organized by the Richmond-Madison County Branch of the NAACP and the Richmond Area Arts Council. It’s meant to recognize African American performers across generations and genres, from local choirs to world-traveled jazz musicians.

“This effort was to do a Black history program or project that would bring communities together and honor what has been done,” Kathy Bullock, Professor Emerita of Music at Berea College and event co-chair, said.

The variety of genres, including funk, jazz, soul and the blues, is meant to reflect how African Americans have contributed to contemporary music.

“Just about every popular music in the United States can trace its origins or strong influences back to African American music,” Bullock said. “The spiritual, the blues, even early country and western, R&B, Ragtime, jazz, gospel, hip hop, all of them.”

Bullock also says that music is a core part of the African American experience.

“It has always been a critical component to our survival,” Bullock said. “It provides an avenue for creating community. It is a healing component. It is uplifting, it is motivating. It’s restorative. And it’s a bridge builder. So it makes sense to use music particularly, and the arts in general, as a way in which all of these communities can come together.”

The event is scheduled Friday at 7 p.m. at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond. Tickets are available through the center’s box office, the Richmond Area Arts Council or online.

A free artist reception is also scheduled the following Saturday at the Richmond Area Arts Council’s headquarters, highlighting works by African American artists including wood carvings, baskets and folk art.

A lineup of the musicians can be found at the Richmond Area Arts Council’s website.

Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.