Black History Month- Music and Diversity II

Music and Diversity II is a series of events that educate, entertain, and build community awareness of diversity through the Arts. The project will offer no cost field trips for schools, lectures, themed art exhibitions, live music, spoken word poetry, documentary films, and storytelling throughout the month of February. World class performers will join the celebration, including dynamic musical storyteller Vienna Carroll, poet Bob McNeil, and NYC jazz great Kim Kalesti.

Mary Wyatt by Louise MinksSunday, 2/7: Great Falls Discovery Center, Turners Falls, 1-3:30pm. Free.
Reception: Artists Louise Minks and Belinda Lyons Zucker,
Lecture by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, 2:30pm.

Louise Minks will exhibit 10 portraits painted between 1993-’94 of African Americans who have either lived, worked or spoke in the Pioneer Valley including Lucy Terry Prince, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Martin Luthur King Jr, Jennifer Hines, Janis Wertz Hadley, Horace Clarence Boyer, John Loller Jr, Mary Pittman Wyatt.

Multi-media artist Belinda Lyons Zucker creates detailed handmade dolls with expressive clay faces that represent historic African American figures, family members, and memories of people she has known through her life, frequently women. “Portraits of African Americans, Past and Present” will be on display in the Great Hall of the Discovery Center from February 5 to March 31.

Tim Neumann, Executive Director of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, will give a lecture “A Web of Community: Slavery in a Rural New England Town” at 2:30pm. Learn about the complicated social interactions and economic relationships between free and enslaved African Americans during the mid-eighteenth century when 38% of households in Deerfield included slaves.

More information at Memorial Hall Website.

Wednesday, 2/10: Great Falls Harvest Restaurant, Turners Falls, 6-9pm
Call and Response: Portraits of Influential African American Blues & Jazz Musicians
Performance: Vienna Carroll & Keith Johnston : Folk First: Black Roots Music 7pm.
Suggested donation $5-$10
Great Falls Harvest will host an unparalleled evening of art, music and storytelling from 6-9pm. Folk First: Black Roots Music features New York City musicians Vienna Carroll (vocals) and Keith Johnston (guitar). They will present early African American spirituals, work songs, and prison songs and explore their direct relationships to the music of contemporary artists such as the late rap icon Biggie Smalls and singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, and fashion designer Pharrell Williams.

Friday, 2/12: St. James Church, 8 Church Street, Greenfield, 6-10pm
Western Massachusetts Black History Celebration
Soul Food and Music, Spoken Word Performance, African Drumming and Dance
Suggested donation $10, Snow date 2/26
For more information contact Don Wright at 413-387-9664

Sunday: 2/14: Brick House Community Resource Center, Turners Falls, 4pm
Documentary: FERGUSON: A Report from Occupied Territory, (Orlando de Guzman, 2015, 53min.)
“The United States is currently in the midst of a national dialogue regarding racial profiling and police brutality; a dialogue triggered by the killing of Michael Brown in August of 2014. Ferguson: A Report from Occupied Territory goes to the frontline of this discussion, and offers invaluable insights from Ferguson residents.” Hosted by Ya-Ping Douglass and Tieray Moore. Sponsored by Cosa Rara. More on Facebook. 

Saturday, 2/20: Brick House Community Resource Center, Turners Falls, 1-4pm, Free!
Community Workshop
A unique opportunity for individuals to change through self-reflection and interpersonal dialogue in a safe, facilitated environment. Participants will share their own experiences about race in a circle process which encourages respect and honesty. Led by Don Wright of the National SEED Project. Space is limited to 15. To register call 413-835-1390 or email

Sunday 2/21: Brick House Community Resource Center, Turners Falls, 4pm
Documentary: The Mike Brown Rebellion (Rebel Diaz and Ñ Don’t Stop, 2014, 63 min.), free.
Ñ Don’t Stop brings a special 6-part report, produced by Rebel Diaz, on the Ferguson Rebellion that has resulted from the killing of Mike Brown at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. The story covers the beginnings of the rebellion up to the events around the Grand Jury verdict. Hosted by Ya-Ping Douglass and Tieray Moore. Sponsored by Cosa Rara. More on facebook:

Saturday, 2/27: Great Falls Discovery Center, Turners Falls, 4-6pm. Free.
From Africa to Hip Hop: A lecture by New York spoken word poet Bob McNeil.
In ancient times, before the first word was ever uttered, there was music. Music spoke for humanity. Communication resided in each grunt and drumbeat.

Today, music still communicates by telling us, with each note, despite environmental problems, racial problems, and terroristic problems, there is melody. In a world of unpleasantness, there is still melody.

Bob McNeil and his accompanists are going to share essays, lyrics, poems, quotes, songs and stories that will take an audience through the history of music. The program will cover African Music, Negro Spirituals, the Blues, Ragtime, Jazz, Gospel Music, Boogie Woogie, Rhythm and Blues, Doo-Wop, Rock and Roll, Soul, Funk, Disco and Hip-Hop.

By listening to our history, we will see where our lives began. By listening to our history, we will see where our lives are going.

Kim KalestiSaturday, 2/27: The Rendezvous, Turners Falls, 9pm
Reception: Call and Response: Portraits of Influential African American Blues and Jazz Musicians
An Evening of Jazz with New York Singer Kim Kalesi
The Rendezvous is pleased to host a performance by New York City Jazz Singer Kim Kalesti. She will sing two acrostic sets starting at 9pm. In the spirit of community, Kim will be accompanied by three local jazz musicians on acoustic guitar, bass and drums.

“Knowledge is right in our midst as Robert Johnson travels the rails to seek Charley Patton’s riffs, sounds he needs to express his own life, co-exiting was the tonality of Coleman Hawkins that inspired the pen of Duke Ellington. Soloed on Tin Pan Alley tunes evoked, captured offspring evolution of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross vocalize with poignant story telling lyrics strategically placed on each note, phrase. While Charlie Parker’s improvising evolved a new sound, it took hold of the studious Miles Davis giving way to Cool. Proving that we are “one’ our lives together here on the earth plane.” More information about Kim Kalesti Here.

Music and Diversity II is sponsored by Turners Falls RiverCulture,
Community Volunteers and support from:

The Massachusetts Cultural Council, FirstLight Power, Greenfield Savings Bank, The Rendezvous, Montague Elks, Great Falls Harvest Restaurant, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), The Great Falls Discovery Center, The Town of Montague,
St. James Church, Charon Art Visionary Tattoo, Greenfield Cooperative Bank, Freedom Credit Union, LOOT, Judd Wire, Hillside Plastic, Republic Services and The Local Cultural Councils of Montague, Bernardston, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Leyden, New Salem, Northfield, Shutesbury Warwick and Wendell.

Posted in Events.