Gala celebrates Black history
“Let Freedom Ring — Celebrating Black History” is planned at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.
The event is a gala evening of music, inspiration and soul taking the audience on a remarkable journey through the transformative Civil Rights era.
Hear freedom songs from the Civil Rights Movement performed by the Iowa Freedom Choir and guest artists Steve George, Gloria Hardiman, Mary Teague and Chris Weaver.
Live portrayals of historical speeches of Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth and others will be presented by talented students and actors.
A multimedia presentation of photos and videos of Civil Rights events serves as a backdrop during the entire evening.
The Iowa Freedom Choir, directed by Gloria Hardiman and Mary “Mama” Teague, was formed to learn the freedom songs of the Civil Rights Movement. A few of those performed will be “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round,” “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” and “We Shall Overcome.”
The evening also features gospel songs, including “Oh Happy Day,” “A Change is Gonna Come” and “People Get Ready.”
Cymaron Dawson, the director of the University of Iowa Gospel choir, will help direct the choir and will join the band on keyboard, along with other gospel players and Doug Daller on piano.
The gala will include a silent auction and a dessert table. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will help fund the documentary “Return to Freedom Summer: Passing the Torch,” a project of the foundation.
Eight years in the making, “Return to Freedom Summer: Passing the Torch” keeps alive the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the historic Freedom Summer, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014.
Proceeds also will go toward funding the upcoming Iowa Freedom Choir trip through the historic South, culminating in a joint concert with the Meridian Community College Gospel Choir in Meridian, Miss. The concert and its music will be included in the documentary. Filming for the documentary will be completed during the trip.
The event is co-sponsored by solar powered KRUU-FM.
For more information, visit the websites www.returntofreedomsummer.com or www.fairfieldacc.com.