Native American Pavilion to Feature Demonstrations by Area Artists
ALBUQUERQUE NM—When the New Mexico Office of African American Affairs learned of plans for the giant June 16th Centennial Summerfest event in downtown Albuquerque, they decided that it was the perfect opportunity to collaborate with the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and the Albuquerque Juneteenth Committee to celebrate an important day in the African American culture and spread the history to a vast audience who otherwise may not know about Juneteenth! In 2006, the New Mexico Legislature approved an act that designated June 19th as “Juneteenth Freedom Day.”
The result is an ambitious program of live entertainment, the participation of organizations and vendors, and the introduction to the history, culture, music, dance and experiences of the African Americans who are our friends and neighbors.
Beginning with the opening of Centennial Summerfest at Noon, the stage will present “Call of the Drums,” a traditional drumming circle based on African Heritage. Next come performances of youth from around the state who are participating in a state church convention that will have the crowds swaying and clapping to their joyous sounds. Their talents include gospel rap, praise dancing, choral performance and gospel soloists.
Gospel singer Rosalind Jones takes the stage at 1:40 p.m. to raise her powerful voice in praise. Her long ministry with husband, Pastor J. L’Keith Jones, is testament to her commitment to sharing her faith with the world through music and service to others.
Prominent member of Albuquerque’s African American community, Joe Powdrell, will share the history of Juneteenth with the crowd at 2 p.m., telling of his efforts to establish the annual celebration in our area. At 2:20 p.m., Sweet Life with Rodney Bowe follows his presentation.
“Songbird in Flight” Shirlette Weathersby’s extensive vocal range led to a successful singing career in which she performs a wide variety of music. But her heart returns to gospel as she shares her gift with the world. She has performed throughout the US, in Panama, the Philippines and many other venues. She also appears at the Sunday Gospel Brunch at the Sheraton Uptown Hotel. Her performance is scheduled for 2:45 p.m.
“Fearless” is the description of the female gospel rap artist who will perform from 3:05 – 3:15 p.m., followed at 3:20 p.m. by the Phillips CME Choir-a raising of voices that will draw large crowds.
At 3:40 p.m. Brenda Marley and The Casualz, Doug TerBush, John Basile and Ruben Montoya, bring their versatile talents to the OAAA Juneteenth Stage to perform jazz favorites. And, at 3:55 p.m. The Steppin’ Disciples for Christ Bible Drill Team bring their impressive knowledge of Scripture and other important elements of their faith to an inspiring performance that involves steps, songs and testimony to their commitment to involving other youths in making good choices for their lives. The group has competed in the National Baptist Convention Bible Competition for five years, being named National Champions in 2009 and 2010.
Next up on the stage will be Of the Essence, some of Albuquerque’s finest musicians and vocalists presenting music that uplifts and inspires. The seven-piece band will perform from 4:20 – 4:35 p.m., followed by dance team Trey and Vanessa.
Closing out the afternoon from 5:15 – 6 p.m. is Albuquerque favorite, songbird Cathryn McGill, whose soulful sound attracts audiences of all ages and musical tastes. Long established as one of New Mexico’s top vocal talents, she brings with her sweet soulfulness, worldly assurance and appealing stage presence. The singer/songwriter performs all over the country, creating new fans wherever she goes.
Adjacent to the OAAA Juneteenth Stage will be a large Pavilion filled with a variety of vendors and organizations that include an information booth sponsored by OAAA, the presence of Sickle Cell of New Mexico, Breast Cancer Research Center, Booker Woodard sharing brochures on culture and Black History, and Dino Hall distributing materials on free prostrate exams for men over 50. The NAACP will also have a presence sharing information on fighting discrimination and civil rights. Vendors include Pearls of the Antilles Art, Blessed Creations, Design by Ms. S, Nell’s Black Art & Things, and authors Theresa Thaxton, From Waiting to Wedding, and Don Grady, (former Santa Fe Chief of Police), The Injustice of Justice.
And of course, the wonderful aroma and taste of Mr. Powdrell’s BBQ will draw visitors into the Pavilion for a taste of great Southern cooking! Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings.
The Centennial Summerfest in Albuquerque, the largest event in New Mexico celebrating 100 years of statehood, will feature popular genres of music on six different stages along Central Avenue, a Territorial Village, Science & Technology Center, a juried art exhibition, food vendors, a Kid’s Fun Zone, and much more. The event begins at Noon and ramps up at 6 p.m. when the Main Stage becomes the focal point for the evening with a performance by the multiple Grammy®-winning band, “Los Lobos.”
Centennial Summerfest is produced by the City of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, Mayor. For additional details on all special events, please call 311. TTY users call 711.