-Feature photo, Laurin Talese (February 19, 2022 Kimmel Cultural Campus – Perelman Theater). Courtesy of the Kimmel Cultural Campus
The Kimmel Cultural Campus and The Philadelphia Orchestra, along with Resident Companies Philadelphia Ballet, The Philly POPS, and Opera Philadelphia, commemorate Black History Month in February 2022 with vibrant and educational programming honoring African American artistic expression and culture.
“The Kimmel Cultural Campus celebrates Black History Month with multidisciplinary stage presentations and student matinees that recognize the defining contributions Black artists have made on the communities of Philadelphia and far beyond,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc. “We invite everyone to celebrate with us not only during this month of cultural significance, but all year long as we honor the vibrancy of the African American diaspora through our presentations.”
The celebration kicks off with internationally acclaimed opera singer Angel Blue and The Philadelphia Orchestra in Verizon Hall, Thursday through Saturday, February 3 – 5; the Orchestra performs the world premiere of a commission by Valerie Coleman, while Florence Price paints an orchestral picture of her life as a Black woman raised in the Post-Civil War South in her First Symphony. A Conversation with Philadelphia Ballet’s Black Ballerinos is presented by the Philadelphia Ballet on Wednesday, February 16 – touching on the highs and lows that Black ballerinos have experienced in their careers; opportunities and challenges that Black ballerinos face in the United States; and career advice for emerging Black ballerinos. Later in the month, The Philly POPS Presents Dancin’ In The Streets: The Music of Motown, February 18 – 20 — celebrating the legendary “Motown Sound” with talented young artists, including Hairspray stars Shayna Steele & Chester Gregory and American Idol finalist and charted R&B artist Michael Lynche. Jazz vocalist Laurin Talese will be performing Saturday, February 18, with a performance featuring music from her upcoming release: Museum Of Living Stories commissioned by Chamber Music America. Can’t make it to the theater in person? Tune in virtually on OperaPhila.Tv through Friday, February 11 to experience acclaimed composer Tyshawn Sorey’s Save the Boys, presented by Opera Philadelphia.
Returning in February is the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Jazz4Freedom program, developed for 4th grade students and linking Jazz to Black History in Pennsylvania and beyond. Taught by experienced teaching artists through an in-school curriculum, 4th graders are first engaged with a preshow workshop about the Harlem Renaissance and growth of jazz in Philadelphia. The highlight of Jazz4Freedom is a field trip to see Kimmel Center’s Jazz4Freedom performance – an event featuring music, dance, and commentary on social change throughout history. Students are inspired by a post-show workshop linking the Civil Rights Movement to jazz and providing the opportunity for reflection on the continuation of social change. More information for Jazz4Freedom to be announced. Jazz4Freedom is sponsored by Independence Blue Cross.
The Kimmel Cultural Campus also celebrates Black History Month with an array of digital programs. These events put a spotlight on the music of the Civil Rights Movement as well as modern day struggles for equality, the cultural enlightenment of the Harlem Renaissance, and offered experiences for all ages with a “Hip Hop Recess” that moves the body while offering morsels of history about Hip Hop, the dynamic dance form from the 1970s. Follow Kimmel Cultural Campus social media channels to read inspirational quotes from African American artists and cultural leaders as part of the Black History Month celebration. Be sure to check out our Kimmel curated Black History Month Playlist on our Spotify channel celebrating generations of African American artists and musicians.
Below is a full list of Black History Month offerings in chronological order:
ANGEL BLUE SINGS BARBER
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Kimmel Center Cultural Campus’ Verizon Hall
Thursday – Saturday, February 3 – 5, 2022
Feb 3, 2022, 7:30 PM
Feb 4, 2022, 2:00 PM
Feb 5, 2022, 8:00 PM
The Philadelphia Orchestra will be performing the world premiere of a commission by Valerie Coleman. In a performance grounded in our shared connection to a sense of place, internationally acclaimed soprano Angel Blue transports us to Knoxville: Summer of 1915 through Samuel Barber’s dream-like depiction of the world through the eyes of a child. Valerie Coleman creates an inspiring new song cycle from contemporary Philadelphia-based poets. Florence Price paints an orchestral picture of her life as a Black woman raised in the Post-Civil War South in her First Symphony, steeped in American folk music, spirituals, and church hymns. In 1933, this piece was the first symphonic work by a Black woman to be played by a major American orchestra. The concert also includes works by Samuel Barber and Matthew Aucoin. Plus, the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Suite from his opera Eurydice.
SAVE THE BOYS
Through Friday, February 11, 2022
See acclaimed composer Tyshawn Sorey’s Save the Boys, featuring countertenor and 2020 NBC’s The Voice finalist John Holiday, through February 11 on the Opera Philadelphia Channel. Then dive into the history of the 1887 poem that inspired the piece, by Philadelphia abolitionist, writer, and Black women’s rights activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Kalela Williams, the founder of Black History Maven (blackhistorymaven.com), leads a video guide through Harper’s life in Philadelphia and her impact on our nation’s history. Created for grades 5-12, this free program is enjoyable for all ages. To learn more, visit operaphila.org/learnsavetheboys.
A CONVERSATION WITH PHILADELPHIA BALLET’S BLACK BALLERINOS
FREE via Zoom
Wednesday, February 16, 2022 – 5 – 6 PM
In honor of Black History Month, Philadelphia Ballet’s first Black publicist Roger Lee will interview the company’s current Black ballerinos Jermel Johnson (Principal Dancer), Cato Berry (Corps de Ballet), and Denis Maciel (Corps de Ballet). This educational virtual panel discussion will focus on the highs and lows that these three Black ballerinos have experienced in their dance careers, the unique opportunities and challenges that Black ballerinos face in the United States, and career advice for emerging Black ballerinos. Visit www.philadelphiaballet.org for registration information.
DANCIN’ IN THE STREETS: THE MUSIC OF MOTOWN
The Philly POPS
Kimmel Center Cultural Campus’ Verizon Hall
Friday – Sunday, February 18 – 20, 2022
Feb 18, 2022, 8:00 PM
Feb 19, 2022, 3:00 PM
Feb 20, 2022, 3:00 PM
Experience the magic of MOTOWN! This program features smash hits made famous by artists like Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, The Temptations, and the one and only Stevie Wonder. Songs include “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Dancing In The Street,” “I Heard it Through The Grapevine,” “My Girl,” “Superstition,” and more. Celebrate the legendary “Motown Sound” with Hairspray stars Shayna Steele and Chester Gregory and with American Idol finalist and charted R&B artist Michael Lynche. Audiences will be transformed by the powerful music of Motown with these authentic arrangements and exciting, young talented musicians.
Kimmel Campus Presents
Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Perelman Theater
Saturday, February 18, 2022, 8:00 PM
Laurin Talese has been captivating audiences with her pure tone and poignant lyrics since childhood. A Cleveland, Ohio native, Laurin was classically trained at the Cleveland Institute of Music and later studied classical and jazz voice at the University of the Arts where she received a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance. Her debut album, Gorgeous Chaos, released in 2016, features a stellar line up of musicians and was met with wide acclaim. Ms. Talese’s talents have allowed her to travel around the globe, performing in a host of internationally renowned venues including the Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in 2018 when Laurin won the seventh annual Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. In 2019, Laurin Talese represented the United States as a cultural ambassador with American Music Abroad – an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Following in the footsteps of former Ambassadors Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and Dave Brubeck, she performed for audiences throughout Eastern Europe and led educational workshops to bring jazz to new populations. Ms. Talese is also an active member of the Philadelphia music community – serving on the board of Jazz Philadelphia as well as the Recording Academy’s Philadelphia chapter where she was recently appointed Vice President. Ms. Talese will be performing music from her upcoming release: Museum Of Living Stories commissioned by Chamber Music America.
CREATIVE STAGES SIGNATURE PROGRAM
Jazz4Freedom is a program developed for 4th grade students linking Jazz to Black History in Pennsylvania and beyond. Taught by experienced teaching artists, 4th graders are first engaged with a preshow workshop about the Harlem Renaissance and growth of jazz in Philadelphia. The highlight of Jazz4Freedom is a field trip to see Kimmel Center’s Jazz4Freedom performance featuring music, dance, and commentary on social change throughout history. Students are inspired by a post-show workshop which links the Civil Rights Movement to jazz and provides the opportunity for reflection on the continuation of social change. Finally, classroom teachers are empowered to continue the discussion through study guides connecting Jazz4Freedom to academic standards in Social Studies and Language Arts. In September 2019, the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus announced its 5-year Strategic Growth expansion, which will educate, engage, and inspire 100,000 students each year in the Philadelphia area by year 2023. FREE education programming on the Campus and within the community is 100% supported by contributions, enabling the Center to fulfill its vision to transform lives daily through the arts and move forward in its mission to engage the region’s diverse communities with art through performance and education. More information for Jazz4Freedom to be announced. Jazz4Freedom is sponsored by Independence Blue Cross.
Safe & Clean Commitment + Flexible Ticket Policy
The Kimmel Cultural Campus is proudly certified by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council – the gold standard for cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention programs. We will always put the safety of our guests, artists, and staff first, and we have worked closely with partners, producers, artists, guests and other performing arts centers around the nation to develop the most comprehensive plan to safely reopen our doors. We are committing to a healthy and clean environment with increased disinfection, enhanced ventilation, and will enforce recommended health authority guidelines, including masks and proof of vaccination. For more information on our Safe & Clean Commitment, please visit kimmelculturalcampus.org.
Masks are required to be worn at all times when on the Kimmel Cultural Campus, except when actively consuming food or beverage in designated locations. Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted. All attendees for public events must show proof of full vaccination at the time of entry, with valid photo ID and copy of vaccination card (physical or photo). Proof of negative COVID-19 tests will not be accepted, with the exception of children under the age of 12; children under 12 will be required to show a negative PCR test or negative rapid result. While rapid tests (taken within 48 hours of event) are accepted, and PCR tests are preferred (taken within 72 hours of event). Official lab results are required, and home tests will not be accepted. Our position on vaccine mandates for children under the age of 12 may change as the larger population gets vaccinated. This policy is subject to change based upon guidance from the CDC and local health authorities.