Tag Archives: Gospel for Teens

7/26(Sun)HARLEM WEEK KICKS OFF WITH “A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM” feat B.B.King & Ben E King Tribute

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日本語

Sunday, July 26 at U.S. Grant National Memorial Park

Fun Family Day filled with activities for all ages – International Vendor Marketplace, Technology Pavilion, Urban Fashion Show, Cultural Showcase, Gospel Caravan, Concert with Ray Chew Band, Maysa & Guest artists plus a special Harlem music fest tribute to B.B. King and Ben E. King featuring Lloyd Price, Chuck Jackson and bandleader Paul Shaffer, King Solomon Hicks and Keith “The Captain” Gamble

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WHAT:               HARLEM WEEK presents “A Great Day in Harlem,” the official  kick-off to the 41st Annual HARLEM WEEK Festival

WHEN:               Sunday, July 26, 2015 12:00 Noon – 8:30 PM

WHERE:             U.S. Grant National Memorial Park
West 122nd Street and Riverside Drive MAP

Sakura Park – Across from U.S. Grant National Memorial Park
Tech Pavilion: featuring Robotics, Smart Gadgets, Interactive Science Activities and more
U.S. Grant National Memorial Park

gospelforteens1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Artz, Roots and Rhythm: International Cultural Showcase

Featuring: Harlem Swing Dance Society, NJPAC Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens, Uptown Dance Academy and Africa Center’s Okay Africa DJ’s and Dancers

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

A Gospel Celebration

Featuring: inspirational music with Mama Foundation Gospel Choir, Tiger the Hope Boy and Bishop Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir

5:00 PM – 6:15 PM

Fashion Fusion Showcase

Spotlighting the best in urban fashions

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Harlem Music Fest Music Tribute

BB KingMusic Salute to B. B. King – featuring King Solomon Hicks and Keith “The Captain” Gamble

ben_e_king_2438304bMusic Salute to Ben E. King –featuring Lloyd Price, Paul Shaffer and Chuck Jackson with Toya

7:30 PM

Concert Under the Stars

Featuring: Ray Chew and the Harlem Music Fest All Star Band, International Recording Artist Maysa & Special guests

HARLEM WEEK began in 1974 as HARLEM DAY, a day of encouragement and fellowship in Harlem for New Yorkers. Given the huge success of the celebration, more days were added to showcase the community’s rich economic, political and cultural history.

Celebrating its 41st year in 2015, HARLEM WEEK will offer over 100 events from July 26th through August 22nd to over 2 million attendees from all over New York and the world. HARLEM WEEK celebrates the neighborhoods assets and unique flavor, promoting Harlem’s rich African, African-American, Caribbean, Hispanic and European history, culture, arts, religion, entertainment and sports.

 

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スペシャル・リポート from 東京:Mama I Want To Sing ママ・アイ・ウォント・トゥ・シング日本ツアー大成功のうち終了!

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Read In English

Mama I Want To Singの1ヶ月に渡る日本公演が大成功のうちに1月5日をもって終了しました。初演から30周年、初来日から25周年という記念すべき来日公演。ツアー後半の会場は東京六本木のアミューズ・シアター。元ブルーマン・シアターという、あのブルーマン・グループが2年間に渡りロングランした場所、つまり本格ミュージカルのパフォーマンスのために作られた劇場なんです。

開演直前続々とつめかけるお客さんにまずびっくり。何せハーレムのデンプシーシアターにやってくるのは90%以上がアフリカン・アメリカン。近隣の教会からバスを連ねてやってくるクリスチャンが主流で、まるで日曜日の教会に来ているような気分にさせられるのだけれど、当然東京のお客さんはまったく違う。親子連れ、若いカップル、女子のグループ、私のように25年前の東京公演を見たという年季の入った?音楽ファンなど、あらゆるタイプの日本人でシアターは埋まっていました。

Mama_Tokyo4

Roppongi Amuse Theater

いつものとおり元ラジオDJでもあるプロデューサー、ヴァイ・ヒギンセンのドラマチックな語りでミュージカルがスタート。彼女が登場するDJブースは2階建てで、これはデンプシーよりもかなりグレードアップ。他のステージセットなどはハーレムと同様ミニマルでシンプルでしたが、照明は白を中心に東京風にかなりあか抜けた印象。衣装もいく分グレードアップしていたような・・・

しかし内容の素晴らしさはまさにハーレムがそのまま東京にやってきたかのよう!
主役のノエル・ヒギンセンは1ヶ月に30公演以上というハードスケジュールをこなしているにもかかわらずベストコンディションをキープ。6オクターブのアンビリーバブルな音域と豊かな声量を確かなテクニックであやつり、客席からはため息の連続。クワイアを構成するハーレム・ティーン・クワイア(ゴスペル・フォー・ティーンズ)がまた素晴らしい。彼らにとっては初めての海外公演。初々しさの中に自身が生まれますますパワフルに。成長したんだなーと思わず嬉しくなってしまいました。

Mama I Want To Sing in Tokyo

Mama I Want To Sing in Tokyo

そして気になるのはお客さんの反応。ハーレムの観客は即座にステージにエンゲージ、彼らの一挙一動、言葉の一つ一つに反応し、「ハレルヤ」「エイメン」とステージ客席が一体になって一つのパフォーマンスを繰り広げるけれど、果たして東京のお客さんは?
はっきり言って最初は様子をうかがっている感じ。ステージ両側に字幕があり、それを読むのも忙しかったのかも。でもだんだん体と心が暖まって来ているのが目に見えてわかる。そしてラストにキャストが登場し大合唱になる部分、ハーレムならここで観客総立ちになっていっしょに歌い踊る場面。その瞬間ノエルがハキハキした日本語で「タッテクダサイ!」と連呼すると次々にみんなが立ち上がる。続いて「日本人にもゴスペルを歌う人がたくさんいると聞いています。この会場にもゴスペルシンガーがたくさんいるでしょう? ステージに出て来てください。もし来ないならこちらから迎えに行きます!」と言った瞬間、キャストたちが客席に突進! 私も目の前に走って来たミュージック・ミニスター役のイライジャに「オーメグミ!来てたのかー」ととっつかまりステージに押し出されてしまいました。
ステージの上では「初めましてー」「久しぶりー」のハグ&キス大会。そして定番「This little light of mine」の大合唱。その瞬間客席を見ると、総立ちとなったお客さんの満面の笑顔、笑顔、笑顔!!

Autographing Session

Autographing Session

そしてショーが終わりもうニコニコのお客さんといっしょにロビーに出ると、既にキャストがテーブルに並んで待機。CDとプログラムを買ったお客さんに一人一人丁寧にサインするというハーレムスタイルをここでもきっちりやっている。暖かい一体感がここでも続いていました。

ママ・アイ・ウォント・トゥー・シング・イン・ジャパン。ゴスペルが運ぶ愛と音楽の素晴らしさ、暖かさは世界中どこに行っても変わらない。それがちゃんと伝わることを確信できた一夜でした。

(シェリーめぐみ)

Mama I Want To Sing’s Gospel For Teens Appears@The Rockefeller Christmas 2013

Ariana Grande Stole The Show With The Aid Of Gospel For Teens!

Read in Japanese

 

Reckefeller Christmas Tree

Reckefeller Christmas Tree

Today, the Rockefeller Christmas is a New York’s tourist-filled, multimillion-dollar special yearly event.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

The holiday special boasted a slew of performers. The highlight performances include Mariah Carey, performing her classic “All I want for Christmas is You”; Tony Braxton and Babyface with a duet of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”; Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson and many others.

It was, however, 20-year-old ‘Mini Mariah,’ Ariana Grande who stole the show. The singer wowed the audience with her powerful performance of her hit single “Love Is Everything” with assistance from a choir, Harlem’s own Gospel For Teens. As you may already know that some members of GFT left for Tokyo for “Mama, I Want To Sing!” Japan tour.

Emily “Cissy” Houston, Valerie Simpson and Dionne Warwick Attend “Mama, I Want To Sing” 30th Anniversary Gala

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READ IN JAPANESE

The 30th Anniversary Celebration of
Mama, I Want To Sing
America’s Longest Running Black Musical
Saturday, March 23, 2013

Among many celebrity guest, Emily “Cissy” Houston, Valerie Simpson and Dionne Warwick attend “Mama, I Want To Sing” 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration at The Dempsey Theater in Harlem Saturday night.

After welcoming all the board members and the benefit committee at Red Carpet, the gala began with a very special performance that includes musical highlights from “Mama, I Want To Sing” and “Sing, Harlem Sing!, ”as well as a performance from the Gospel for Teens Choir.

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Cissy Houston, Vy Higginson

The Background Story

By Vy Higginsen

I was the youngest of four children growing up on Harlem. My father was a minister and my mother was very involved in his church. My oldest sister, Doris, sang in the choir. She was eventually discovered by James Brown at The Apollo, and went on to a successful career in popular music. Kind and generous, Doris was a big influence on me. I was inspired to tell her story, and so I wrote Mama, I want To Sing with my husband, Ken Wydro.

As we wrote the story, we became aware that is wasn’t just ours. It was the combined stories of numerous African-Americans who grew up on the church, stepped out of the church choir and then made their way into the recording industry and on stage. They created a new sound that was uniquely African-American – Something at once uniquely personal and wholly universal.

Initially the script was rejected by every major producer in New York – none believed that the story was worth telling or that an audience could be found for a Gospel-based production.

With nowhere else to turn, we devoted our entire life savings to opening Mama, I Want to Sing in East Harlem at the Heckscher Theatre which had housed Joe Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival 15 years earlier. As the doors’ chain was lifted, puffs of dust and dirt greeted us in the abandoned 632-seat theater.

Standing on that dusky, silent stage, dimly lit with coated work lights; I saw the theater filled with senior citizens, church groups, school children, and hard-working black mothers and fathers who had spiritual values and loved soul-stirring music.

Mama, I wan To Sing opened March 25, 1983 with a minuscule advertising, promotional, and publicity budget. Word-of-mouth spread quickly through the black community and the theatrical and traditional musical circles. Mama, I Want To Sing positively the power, spontaneity and emotional uplift of the black church experience.

For thirty years now, Mama, I wan To Sing has been performed all over the world. It has not only entertained, but it has helped introduce gospel music to other cultures, and it has taught audiences everywhere about our community and our people.

Inspired by the show’s worldwide success, I created Mama Foundation for the Arts in 1998 as a cultural space in Harlem where both youth and adults have access to quality training and employment in the performing arts. With a mission to present, preserve, and promote the history and fundamentals of gospel, jazz, and rhythm and blues music, the Gospel for teens program began at the foundation in 2006. Open to the public at no cost, so that all interested could benefit from it, Gospel for Teens provides support to our musically gifted children by replacing the arts programs taken out of many inner city schools. In the past seven years, we have served hundreds of teens. These fine young men and women have now become Ambassadors of the Music, making sure that the music lives on for generations to come.

It is a thrill to have seen these young people evolve through the arts – I’ve witnessed them change mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

All of us are part of a community that is rich and full of history, conversation, food, music, and art and culture. To explore all that; to present that on stage – whether through our musicals, performances by the Gospel for Teens Choir, or other events – is a privilege.

During the initial run of Mama, I Want To Sing, Doris Troy played the role of our mother; and my brother, Randy, played the role of our father. Now, my daughter, Knoelle, is playing the role of her Auntie. Doris passed away nine years ago, but her life lives on stage to this very day. For that, I am jumbled, and so grateful.

Thank you for your support.

Blessings,

Vy Higginsen