Saturday, December 25, 2010

NANM's D.C. Chapter Named For Ben Holt (1955-1990) & Inaugurated in Presence of Mrs. Mayme Wilkins Holt

[Ben Holt (1955-1990) (Photo by Christian Steiner)]

Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma of Lawrence University Conservatory is principal advisor to He sends this post on Ben Holt and steps taken to commemorate his life and career:

The National Association of Negro Musicians has established a chapter in Washington DC, named in memory of baritone Ben Holt (1955-1990). The formal inauguration was held 17 October at Ashbury United Methodist Church in the presence of Mrs. Mayme Wilkins Holt, who had previously established a student scholarship in her son's memory at his alma mater, the Juilliard School of Music.

Charter members include Patrick D. McCoy, president, and the composer Evelyn Simpson-Currenton, vice-president. Dr. Mickey Thomas Terry, organist, was among the participants for the occasion, as was mezzo-soprano Kehembe Eichelberger, who spoke on behalf of Ben Holt's colleagues from the Metropolitan Opera.

A tribute was offered from his residence in Switzerland by bass-baritone Kevin Short, who had appeared in the première of X; The life and times of Malcolm X, the opera by Anthony Davis in which Holt played the title role: "His technical command and interpretive gifts were so outstanding that they still resonate with me almost 30 years later."

The Ben Holt Memorial Concert Series, originated in Chicago in 1992 by the Center for Black Music Research, is now an annual feature of Lawrence University's Conservatory of Music, dedicated to the presentation of young minority professional artists. A web site, developed by Antonio Green, can be consulted at

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