Concordia University will host an evening of jazz, dance, poetry, and theatre in honor of Black History Month on Saturday, Feb. 17th from 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in the Todd Wehr Auditorium on the Mequon campus, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive.
Headlining the show is a jazz concert by The Donna Woodall Group (Donna Woodall, Ethan Bender, Jeno Somlai, and Michael Standal) which will feature Jazz standards from the Golden Age of Jazz. Best recognized for their regular appearances at The Pfister Hotel and the Jazz Estate Club in Milwaukee, The Donna Woodall Group will take the stage at 8p.m., making a rare Ozaukee appearance to mark the celebration.
Other acts include praise and worship dance performed by Wave of Glory from Milwaukee, poetry readings by Concordia students, and the debut of an original performance piece, entitled “Bloods – African American Men of the Vietnam War,” written by Prof. Lori Woodall, director of Concordia’s Theatre department, and assistant professor of Theatre and Communication at CUW.
“We hope to fill the auditorium with students and community members who want to learn more about the African American experience and celebrate their contributions in all art forms,” says Woodall.
The Variety Show is the showcase event of a busy month of campus activities in celebration of Black History Month. Spearheaded by Concordia’s Black Student Union, the schedule represents multiple student organizations and departments in collaboration. Other activities include a presentation by alumnus, Reggie Jackson, entitled, “Racial Injustice and Racial Privilege – Do They Exist?” on Wednesday, Feb. 15th, and a student panel discussion on Feb. 20th.
“There are many stakeholders in our programming this year,” says Eugene Pitchford, III, CUW professor and advisor to the BSU. “While we celebrate the accomplishments of all of our students all year round, when we take intentional time to learn about different cultural experiences and contributions, we grow as a community.”
We hope to fill the auditorium with students and community members who want to learn more about the African American experience and celebrate their contributions in all art forms.
Beyond event planning and throughout the year, Pitchford forges relationships with Concordia’s Black Student Union and Milwaukee Schools to create opportunities for college students of color to be role models and mentors to kids who may not have college on their radar. According to Pitchford, the college students gain confidence, speaking, and leadership skills through this opportunity, and young kids get the opportunity to talk with college students who might have faced similar challenges to get there.
For more information about The Variety Show on Feb. 17th, contact Lori Woodall, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Black Student Union, contact Eugene Pitchford, III at Eugene.PitchfordIII@cuw.edu.
— Lisa Liljegren is assistant vice president of strategic communications within the Office of Strategy and University Affairs.
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