Dordt College News

Performance celebrates Black History Month

January 13, 2004

The new music theatre piece “Of Ebony Embers” will be performed by the national touring group, Core Ensemble, on Monday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m., in the B.J. Haan Auditorium, Dordt College, Sioux Center. There is no charge to attend this performance, sponsored by the Sioux Center Arts and Recreation Council, Dordt College Student Services, the English Department, the Theatre Arts Department and the Music Department. Of Ebony Embers

“Of Ebony Embers” is a musical play that celebrates the music and poetry of African Americans in New York City during the 1920s. It explores the life and times of those who helped shape the Harlem Renaissance, featuring the lives of three outstanding but very different African American poets: Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay, as seen through the eyes of the great painter and muralist Aaron Douglas.

The Core Ensemble will perform music by African American composers ranging from jazz greats Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus to concert music composers Jeffrey Mumford and George Walker. This ensemble has garnered national recognition for its efforts to commission new chamber and multi-genre works.

Performers in the Core Ensemble are Tahirah Whittington, cello; Hugh Hinton, piano; and Michael Parola, percussion. “Of Ebony Embers” was conceived by the Core Ensemble and features a script by actor/playwright Akin Babatunde, who performs in the production. Babatunde has been a resident company member at Trinity Repertory Theater in Providence, the Alley Theater in Houston, Texas, and the Dallas Theater Center. He is nationally known for his regular appearances on Public Television’s children’s program Wishbone. The Dallas Observer noted that “Babatunde’s characters step forward and tell the story. His moments onstage are affecting, demonstrating that the most powerful special effects are still the human heart and soul.”

“Of Ebony Embers” was commissioned by the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, and the Duncan Theatre/Palm Beach Community College in Lake Worth, Florida, with additional support from the A. D. Henderson Foundation, Target Stores, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Humanities Council. Core Ensemble receives support from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the BMI Foundation, Inc.

The Core Ensemble is the 2000 recipient of the Edward McDermott Award for Excellence in the Arts awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Touring has brought the work to over 100 venues around the U.S. and in the Caribbean.

For more information see Core Ensemble or call the Dordt College Student Services office at 722-6070.

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