Celebrate Black History Month!

Celebrate Black History Month!

By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer

Black History Month continues this week with more cultural events and entertainment updates.

For starters, what better way to make a recognize the African-American influences on popular music in this country than a tribute to one of the late greats of jazz history, Mr. Thomas “Fats” Waller. Portrayed by Mr. Carl Cole (‘Mr. C’) on the full-length grand piano, this theatrical performance entitled “A Handful of Keys,” will take you on a musical journey through the works of Waller. Mr. C’ is the best man for the task as he performed 29 of Waller’s compositions without sheet music for NAT’s 30th season finale of Ain’t Misbehavin’. Also performing with Mr. C are Andrew Cole (drums), Dianna Cole (vocals), Matt Ulery (upright bass) and Bill Doll (clarinet). “A Handful of Keys” takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Mendelssohn Club. It is a free performance, but tax deductible donations can be made out to Rockford Area Arts Council, which will benefit Mr. C’s 2003 Spring/Summer Youth Projects.

Dr. Arnando Gonzalez-Perez will host Other Voices: Rhythm, Language and Identity in Afro-Caribbean Poetry at the Montague Branch Library, 1238 S. Winnebago St., on Wed., Feb 19. Dr. Gonzalez-Perez, a professor at Marquette University and editor of Caribe, a literature and cultural magazine, will discuss Afro-Caribbean poetry, music and culture. The event begins at 6 p.m. and is free to the public. For more information, call 965-7606.

An Open Mic Poetry Reading with an African-American theme will be held at the Montague Branch Library, from 6 to 7 p.m. Mon., Feb. 24. Poems of any style are accepted, and all ages are welcome. Come to read, or just listen. Sign-up begins at 5:45 p.m., and the event is free. For information, 965-6731.

An Open Mic Poetry Slam (with the same theme) is being held at Rock Valley College’s Woodward Technology Center Wed., rooms 141 and 142, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wed., Feb 19. It’s free and runs For information, call 921-4511.

A Chicago Cultural Trip will occur on at Sun., Feb. 23. The coach bus leaves Rock Valley College’s Parking Lot #3 (facing Mulford Road) 9:30 a.m. Participants will visit The House of Blues to attend a Gospel Brunch, and the DuSable Museum of African-American History. The bus will return at approximately 7 p.m. The cost is $40 per person, which includes everything. For reservations, call RVC Community Education at 921-3900.

On Sat., Feb. 22, The Ethnic Heritage Museum is hosting a Black History Month Celebration with their usual standards of excellence in education and cultural appreciation. The celebration runs from 2-4 p.m. Call for prices and information at 962-7402.

That rounds it off for this week in Black History Month. Look forward to next week, which includes a lecture by Bobby Seale (the founding member of the Black Panther Party.)

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