FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 9:00 a.m. CDT
Contact Jason Hogue, Peru State College Marketing and Communications, 402.872.2429
Peru, Nebraska – Returning to Peru State College and the newly remodeled Performing Arts Center, the Core Ensemble presented Of Ebony Embers – Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance in a free concert. The rescheduled performance featured actor Dracyn Blount in multiple roles, as Aaron Douglas, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes.
The Core Ensemble writes, “Celebrating the music and poetry of the Harlem Renaissance era in New York City, Of Ebony Embers examines the lives of three outstanding but very different African American poets – Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay – as seen through the eyes of the great painter and muralist Aaron Douglas.”
Blount recited the poets’ work to better flesh out both the lives of the four men and the period that their words shaped. Deep into the evening’s performance, in the role of Hughes, Blount recited the poet’s Genius Child to show his reflections on the relationship between Hughes and his father. “Nobody loves a genius child,” the poem posits as Hughes stands before his father’s grave.
The evening’s music set the stage in Harlem as much as the characters as The Core Ensemble performed music by African American composers ranging from jazz greats Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus to concert music composers Jeffrey Mumford and George Walker.
The Core Ensemble features cellist, Ju Young Lee, pianist, Mikael Darmanie, and percussionist Michael Parola. The Core Ensemble visited Peru State in 2016 to present Ain’t I a Woman, which celebrated the lives and times of four significant African American Women: ex-slave and fiery abolitionist Sojourner Truth, renowned novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, exuberant folk artist Clementine Hunter and fervent civil rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer.
Parola commented on the remodeling of the Performing Arts Center, relating that an incredible difference had been made, “it is the best remodel of a theatre I have seen,” with improvements to the sound quality, the beauty of the space and to all the facilities.
The Chamber Music Theatre Work, Of Ebony Embers, was produced by the Core Ensemble, written by Akin Babatunde, with an original stage adaptation by Saundra McClain and directed by Rosa Rodriguez.
Since 1993, the Core Ensemble has toured nationally to every region of the United States and internationally to England, Russia, the Ukraine, Australia and the British Virgin Islands. The Ensemble was the recipient of the 2000 Eugene McDermott Award for Excellence in the Arts awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has received support from the State of Florida Department of Cultural Affairs, New England Foundation for the Arts, Palm Beach County Cultural Council, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the Virgil Thomson Foundation.
The Core Ensemble and Dracyn Blount visited Peru State as part of the 2019 Performing Arts Series. TriOmaha will perform next in the Series with a concert set in the Performing Arts Center for Monday, February 25 at 7 p.m. All events in the Performing Arts Series are free to attend and open to the public.
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