During the evening rush hour commute on February 23rd, Port Authority Bus Terminal commuters paused from looking ahead to their destinations to look up (literally, at the Sing for Hope stage), and to look back, in a powerful, musical tribute to Black History.
Featuring diverse musical stylings including jazz, world music, opera, and spoken word, the program began with a moving “Ancestor Veneration” tribute to the known and unknown black heroes of the past. Sing for Hope Artist Partner Joseph Hill’s rich tenor echoed throughout the terminal as he opened the musical portion of the program with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem.
A jazz combo featured the pure trumpet of Panamanian Aquiles Navarro, who trained at New England Conservatory and will soon appear in the Kennedy Center’s Direct Current Series, an innovative two-week celebration of contemporary culture. Sing for Hope Program Manager Frank Malloy set Navarro’s trumpet to a rich and driving drum beat. A pianist and composer with an impressive array of international performance experience in his young career, NYU and New England Conservatory-trained Zack Clarke rounded out the jazz combo on the Sing for Hope Piano keys.
All throughout the program, commuters gathered at the upper-level railings facing the Sing for Hope stage, lingering until the last possible minute before they boarded their buses. Commuters passing through the terminal on the lower level shouted up words of encouragement, adding affirmations to the rich, jazz combo-powered soundtrack of Terry Lovette’s spoken word.
Lovette has a powerful command of both the written and performative aspects of spoken word, and she matches that power with a dedication to training others in the art and impact of spoken word. On March 16th, Lovette will lead a group of women in Sing for Hope’s Women’s History Month program at the Sing for Hope Port Authority Stage, and she will lead the aspiring young artists of Arts Week in a spoken word workshop over Spring Break.