WRHS Celebrates Black History Month with Concert

The Weston Ranch performing arts department hosted a concert celebrating Black History Month on Feb. 10 in the theater. The performances showcased and celebrated African-American composers and their contributions to the arts.

The performance included many great works from composers such as Duke Ellington, William Owens, Nathaniel Adderley, and Florence Price, the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer. Highlighting POC excellence in the music world isn’t anything new to the performing arts department, especially not to Mr. Brown, WRHS’s band and orchestra director. He stresses the importance of playing music from a diverse range of composers to reflect the community of Weston Ranch. Those that were able to go to previous performing arts concerts and events can see this through song selection playing music such as “Halcyon Hearts” by Katahj Copley, an African American composer most notably known for his breakout composition “Spectra,” and “Chasing Sunlight” by Cait Nishimura, a Japanese Canadian composer who was able to win the Canadian Band Association Composition Competition with the same piece in 2017 solidifying herself in the concert band community.

“Music as a form of expression is best when everyone’s voice is represented and celebrated,” said Mr. Brown when asked about the importance of representation in music.

The pieces performed at the concert were “Work Song” by Nathaniel Adderley and performed by the performing arts department’s jazz combo, “Adoration” by Florence Price, performed by the orchestra, “C Jam Blues” by Duke Ellington performed by the jazz band, and “Carpathia” by William Owens performed by the concert band. The concert concluded with an exceptional performance by our guest artist Jo Davi.

Jo Davi is a soulful band that creates music reminiscent of the 5th Dimension with Gospel, R and B, and Reggae tunes. Their members include Aaron Rousseau on the bass guitar, Mark Shaver on the guitar and violin, and Joseph Evans on the drums. In addition, Tajuana Hill, Adam Green, and Nicole Gentry sang vocals, and finally, the band leader Joshua Washington on keys and vocals.

They’ve opened for many grammy award-winning artists, such as India Arie and Anthony Hamilton. In addition, they have released many good albums, such as their album “And And And And” and their latest album “Zion,” which has premiered all over America in places like New York, North Carolina, Georgia, California, etc. Their energetic performance involved the audience by having them stand, sing, and clap along to the music and in songs like “Sweet Vindication.” The audience could see the bandmates’ chemistry and feel their infectious positivity.

“I love music, and I love teaching,” Joshua Washington said when asked what made him want to come out and perform for this event.

The production and the teams that were able to make this all possible should adequately be given their flowers, such as Mr. Davis and the fantastic students in BSU, Mr. Albala and his audio music productions class, Mr. Windschitl and the photography students, Mr. Dahl the district music coordinator, Mr. Brown the band and orchestra teacher, and our guest performers from Jo Davi, with a special thanks to all the teachers and members of the administration who came in attendance to support the performing arts department and celebrate black history.

Those interested in any of the classes mentioned above or further details about the event should seek the respective teachers or Mr. Albala for a recording.