Saturday, July 8, 2017

John Malveaux: The year 2009 marked the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Juneteenth (June 19, 1865) is the oldest known celebration marking the ending of slavery in Texas.

Juneteenth: Celebrating The Bicentennial Of Abraham Lincoln 
Saturday June 13, 2009
12:00-5:00 PM
Martin Luther King Jr. Park
1950 Lemon Ave., Long Beach

Emcee: Leo Stallworth, ABC7
West Coast Premiere Composer Roy Harris
Bicentennial Symphony MusicUNTOLD
Joseph R. Taylor, Conductor

FREE ADMISSION Children's Area
Information Booths
Chairs & Blankets Welcome 

John Malveaux of 

The Long Beach Central Area Association, co-sponsored, with the City of Long Beach Parks Recreation & Marine, the 2009 Long Beach JUNETEENTH Celebration. The year 2009 marked the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Juneteenth (June 19, 1865) is the oldest known celebration marking the ending of slavery in Texas.
 The Long Beach Central Area Association board was a volunteer small group. MusicUNTOLD consisted of only five LBCAA board member in 2009.The Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration was a popular annual event at Martin Luther King Jr. Park that traditionally featured gospel music. LBCAA previously presented Hollywood Walk of Fame recipients and multi-Grammy winners Andrae Crouch and Shirley Caesar during previous succeeding Juneteenth Celebrations.
In honor of American composer Roy Harris and President Lincoln, both born February 12th, I proposed performance of Roy Harris “Bicentennial Symphony” for the 2009 Juneteenth. The composition premiered in Washington D.C., February 10-12, 1976 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It is the strongest text based musical statement on U.S. History, slavery, and race relations ever made by an American composer. The chorus carries the larger part of the work with passages from the Preamble to the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation as well as original passages. The work had not been performed in 33 years and for all practical purposes or general awareness DID NOT EXIST.
The City of Long Beach Parks & Recreation department embraced the idea but members of MusicUNTOLD were divided due to the financial commitment and the departure from popular programming to perform an unknown symphony. MusicUNTOLD treasurer Ahmed Saafir decided to approve the project and he was dedicated throughout the project.  We contracted Maestro Joseph Taylor, conductor of Bellflower Symphony, to hire a pick up orchestra of approximately 68 and Zanaida Robles to contract a chorus of approximately 28 singers. An 11th hour decision was reached to hire Michael Dwyer, USC film student, to video the performance..
I was sensitive to board member  disagreements and scheduled the “Bicentennial Symphony” as opening act of the daylong celebration followed by more popular Blues and Jazz performances. The “Bicentennial Symphony” performance was endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, a federal agency in Washington DC. Classical radio KUSC provided public service announcements. Eric DeWeese, KUSC station manager, and members of the Harris family attended the opening “Bicentennial Symphony” performance. Please see attachment-event flyer and Press Telegram interview 


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