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Jan 27

UWF Hosts Harlem Renaissance

Michael Roland performing Minnie the Moocher (to the left)

The University of West Florida Fine Arts Center was packed Sunday as over 400 people watched the theatrical release of “Our Voices Are Many.” The production, which presented various works from the Harlem Renaissance, enlightened the audience to lesser-known literature and music from the distinct cultural movement.

The many speakers’ captivating expressions vividly explained the injustice and turmoil of the day. Others spoke on dreams that many had at the beginning of the 20th early century for African Americans.

One minute you would think they were sitting in Harlem’s historic Cotton Club listening to the skilled­­ brassy vocal performance of Ella Fitzgerald.

Then, the second moment you would be sitting in the Apollo listening to the strong saxophone playing of Charlie Parker.

One performance that truly rang true was that of Michael Roland performing as the great legend “Minnie the Moocher.”

In the audience you could see the memories flashing across the faces of those old enough to realize that this wonderful music and heritage is still alive and well and being brought to them with an incredible performance.

“Now that is the music I remember and I wish it were more like that today” Jim Watson stated.

Jerry Nelson added, “This is the movement of music that gives us the music we have today. We owe a great deal to these forefathers of the blues and jazz industry.”

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