For Immediate Release

Scientology Presents Musical Tribute to Black History Month

The Church of Scientology National Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., commemorated Black History Month with a concert performed in Fraser Mansion’s Chestnut Hall.

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Those attending the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office Black History Month Concert February 23 enjoyed a celebration of the music and words of African-American and Afro-British composers and poets set against a theme of human rights and freedom.

The concert was organized by Allen Parker of Next Phase Multimedia. Master of Ceremonies was Saige Jackson and performers were composer-pianist Dr. Lester S. Green Jr., Minister of Music of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church of Washington, D.C., and D.C.-based lyric baritone Vashawn McIlwain. The concert featured compositions by contemporary composer-songwriters Alan Palmer and Gail Goodwin of Washington, D.C.; the 19th and early 20th century Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor; 20th century African American composers Margaret Bonds and Howard Swanson; and the works of Harlem Renaissance poet and activist Langston Hughes and contemporary spoken word artist Fred Hill.

Scientologist and human rights advocate George Brown opened the evening’s program and set the mood with a presentation of the life, works and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman, interspersed with video selections from Youth for Human Rights public service announcements and The Story of Human Rights documentary.

Dr. Green spoke of improvised music, which was prevalent in the work of the great European classical composers, and of how this tradition and art is alive and well in African-American church music today. He illustrated this with an improvised piece on the piano based on the popular hymn “How Great Thou Art.” He then invited the audience to name additional musical themes and improvised two pieces based on their suggestions.

Dr. Green and singer-songwriter and poet Meauvell Tate then improvised a version of the song “The Rose” in which classical and popular idioms spontaneously flowed together.

He then welcomed Gail Goodwin back to the stage for a rendition of “If I Can Help Somebody,” interpolating with it thematic material from the hymn “It is Well with My Soul.”

The audience danced and sang to the Dr. Green’s jazz-funk piece “No Sad Song” with Mitchell Thayer on Electric Bass and James “Curley” Robinson on percussion.

All artists returned to the stage for the finale, J. Rosamond Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” joined in the song by the entire audience.

Located in the historic Fraser Mansion at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office stands as the central point from which the Church coordinates its many social and humanitarian initiatives on a national and international level. Its establishment in September 2012 was necessitated by the Church of Scientology’s unprecedented worldwide growth and commensurate demand for Church-sponsored programs.

Scientologists on five continents engage in collaborative efforts with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations to bring about broad-scale awareness and implementation of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world’s premier human rights document.

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L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream.” The Code of a Scientologist calls on all members of the religion to dedicate themselves “to support true humanitarian endeavors in the fields of human rights.”

Scientologists on five continents engage in collaborative efforts with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations to bring about broad-scale awareness and implementation of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world’s premier human rights document.

CONTACT:
Church of Scientology Media Relations
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