“Generations of Power” United States of Asian America Festival 2022 Performing Arts Showcase

The Asian-Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC) proudly presents GENERATIONS OF POWER, a multi-disciplinary showcase featuring The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet (spoken word with live instrumentation), Autonomous Region (jazz fusion), First Voice (story theater), Asian American Dance Performances (contemporary dance), Leela Youth Dance Company (classical North Indian dance), and tashi tamate weiss (movement/ritual).

This FREE, ALL-AGES, OUTDOOR event is part of the 25th annual United States of Asian America Festival (USAAF): Generations of Power. We are proud to host this event at the historic Japantown Peace Plaza as a visual symbol of community resilience and resistance during this period of increased Anti-Asian sentiment.

We The Arts: JUNETEENTH Celebration in Healdsburg

We The Arts: Civic Engagement Through Art is an ArtsEd4All project taking place from June 12 – July 4, 2022, in celebration of Civic Season 2022.

JUNETEENTH Celebration in the Healdsburg Plaza

Juneteenth is the African American celebration of liberation 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Soon after the end of the Civil War, black communities throughout the nation celebrated independence every June 19th with gatherings, delicious food, and of course good music. Healdsburg Jazz is proud to present a diverse range of music, art, culture and education in honor of this holiday, free to the public, in the Healdsburg Plaza.

FREE TO THE PUBLIC

Sunday, JUNE 19, 2022, 11 am – 4 pm,

Healdsburg Plaza, Healdsburg, CA

Healdsburg Jazz Festival 2022

https://healdsburgjazz.org/sunday-june-19/

Juneteenth Celebration in the Healdsburg Plaza with Willie Jones III Quintet, MJ’s Brass Boppers, the Curtis Family C-notes, poets Enid Pickett and Kamau Daáood, KCSM’s Greg Bridges, educational areas, vendors and more.

Presented in partnership with Healdsburg Community Services Department

Make a flag in the arts and crafts area in the plaza.

The Juneteenth Flag, a symbolic representation of the end of slavery in the United States — was created in 1997 by Ben Haith, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF). In 2000, artist Lisa Jeanne Graf modified the flag to its present, modern-day design.

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th.

While flags are everywhere and a part of daily life; most people don’t pause to unlock the rich history and ideas they represent.  With North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) and the community of knowledge it builds, members say “open, sesame” to reveal the wealth of symbols and stories behind flags.

Flags first developed in China, with the advent of silk, and spread across Asia to the Middle East, where crusaders brought them to Europe.  Beginning as markers on the battlefield, their use expanded to identification at sea, denoting who owned, taxed, and protected vessels.  Eventually they became the ultimate icon representing nations, peoples, sub-national and civic entities, organizations, military units, companies, and individuals.  Flag design began with heraldry, then spread its independent wings.  Even before flags, “vexilloids” served as earlier symbols of group affiliation—tribes, armies, clans—and the Romans’ battle standard, the vexillum, gave its name to “vexillology”, the study of flags.

Good Flag, Bad Flag – This 16-page booklet, compiled from the expert input of over 20 different vexillologists world-wide, has become a classic resource for flag design.

African American artists, including Faith Ringgold, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hammons and Gordon Parks have used the flag form in their art.

American Gothic, Washington, D.C.” Credit: Photograph by Gordon Parks.

FREE On Demand Online Film Screening

A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks

A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks explores the power of images in advancing racial, economic, and social equality as seen through the lens of Gordon Parks, one of America’s most trailblazing artists, and the generation of young photographers, filmmakers, and activists he inspired.

A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks is a co-production of Kunhardt Films and HBO. Film for this screening provided by Kunhardt Film Foundation.

This film screening is presented by ArtsEd4All, in conjunction with this year’s #CivicSeason (from Juneteenth to July 4th). Please RSVP to receive a link and password enabling FREE unlimited access to the film via the virtual screening room from Monday, June 12, 2022 at 12:01 AM PST to Tuesday, July 4, 2022, 11:59 PM PST.

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resilience

Juneteenth is a time to gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. Discover ways to celebrate this African American cultural tradition of music, food and freedom.

Learn more about the historical legacy of Juneteenth and explore more objects related to emancipation in the National Museum of African American History & Culture’s collections. https://nmaahc.si.edu/juneteenth

The Emancipation Proclamation

Transcript of the Proclamation, January 1, 1863. By the President of the United States of America. https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/emancipation-proclamation/transcript.html

‘What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?’: Descendants Read Frederick Douglass’ Speech | NPR

In the summer of 2020, the U.S. commemorated Independence Day amid nationwide protests for racial justice and systemic reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s death. That June, we asked five young descendants of Frederick Douglass to read and respond to excerpts of his famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”. It’s a powerful, historical text that reminds us of the ongoing work of liberation.

FEATURING (alphabetically) Douglass Washington Morris II, 20 (he/him) Isidore Dharma Douglass Skinner, 15 (they/their) Zoë Douglass Skinner, 12 (she/her) Alexa Anne Watson, 19 (she/her) Haley Rose Watson, 17 (she/her)

A text version of the full speech is available here.

Mark Izu’s “Songs for J-Town”

Emmy Award winning composer Mark Izu presents an evening of American jazz infused with traditional Japanese Gagaku music and poetry about San Francisco’s Japantown.

For one performance only, Songs for J-Town will feature music from the history of San Francisco’s Japantown. The evening will begin with the story of the Sun Goddess by Brenda Wong Aoki and a blessing by Konko Priest Mas Kawahatsu, followed by an instrumental jazz performance infused with Gagaku, a 1500-year-old ceremonial Japanese music that Izu studied for 26 years under his mentor Togi Suenobu.

Saturday, April 23, 7:30pm, Presidio Theatre, San Francisco

For tickets, visit https://www.presidiotheatre.org/show/2022songsforjtown/

Creative Team

Compositions by Emmy Award Winning Mark Izu (Contrabass and Sho) with Mas Koga (Shakuhachi, Flute, Saxophones), Jimi Nakagawa (Taiko & Traps), Jim Norton (Woodwinds), Caroline Cabading (Vocals), devorah major (Spoken Word), Sara Sithi-Amnuai (Trumpet & Sheng), and Brenda Wong Aoki (Storyteller). Blessing by Rev. Mas Kawahatsu, Digital Collage by Andi Wong, Film by Tonilyn Sideco.

Pre-show Sacred Tree & Post-Show Reception

A classic yorishiro: a giant tree from Kyoto, Japan 
Photo by Chris Gladis (MShades) is marked with CC BY 2.0. 

Sacred trees, called shinboku, are a deeply ingrained part of a Japanese culture that has historically viewed itself as being united with nature, rather than separate from nature; thus, recognizing the sacredness of trees, stones, mountains, forests, and the elements has been a relatively constant theme in Japanese culture for thousands of years.

“BLESSINGS” are the wondrous gifts all people receive each day that allows us to live: sun, air, rain, food, shelter, our heartbeat.

The evening’s program will begin with a purification blessing by Reverend Masato Kawahatsu, Minister at Konko Church of San Francisco. After the performance, enjoy tea and sweets in the courtyard.

Support Provided By

This work was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission with support from Grants for the Arts, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Office of Economic Workforce Development, City and County of San Francisco. In partnership with the JapanTown Task ForceCenter for Asian American Media, and co-presented by the Presidio Theatre. Produced by First Voice.

Angel Island Insight #8: Megan & Chris Wong

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.

MEGAN and CHRIS WONG’s grandfathers were held in the Angel Island Immigration Station barracks. In 1929, Edmund Fong (Gung Gung) arrived in the belly of his mother Wun Shee Fong, who was five months pregnant. Gew Thet Wong (Ye Ye) arrived on Angel Island in 1931.

In 2021, the siblings offer their behind-the-scenes portrait of Beloved Community for Angel Island Insight.

Angel Island Insight. Directed and Edited by Chris Wong. 2021.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #3: Lenore Chinn

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.

Photo: Lenore Chinn. Angel Island Immigration Station Dedication Ceremony for The Immigrant Heritage Wall. July 23, 2011. 
Photo: Lenore Chinn. Angel Island Immigration Station Dedication Ceremony for The Immigrant Heritage Wall. July 23, 2011. 

“Quite a few years ago I was with Flo Oy Wong and family during a 2000 opening of her art exhibit, made in usa: Angel Island Shhh at the Angel Island Immigration Station.

I couldn’t find any image files from that far back. But today I came across a set I had taken years later on the occasion of a dedication there on July 23, 2011. Again, I was there with Flo and family and quite a few notables from our Chinese American community, like Buck Gee, Board President of AIISF, musician Frances Wong and photographer Frank Jang. Historian Judy Yung, who died last month, was in attendance.”

— Lenore Chinn, January 17, 2021


Lenore Chinn
by Mia Nakano, ©Visibility Project. https://www.visibilityproject.org/

LENORE CHINN

I am a San Francisco based artist who focuses on the depiction of a wide spectrum of people in all their diversity and color.

Portraiture is at the core of my visual art practice whether it is painting or photography – both are employed in my creative process.

A moment in time spontaneously captured by my digital bridge camera, transmitted to acrylic on canvas, conveyed in modern archival print or Shared on Facebook, these images document everyday life.

As a body of work they are visual narratives that constitute an art history largely hidden from the public’s perception of society and our particular collective experience.

My focus as a photographer is capturing images and documenting cultural landscapes from a painter’s point of view.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #2 : Lai Yong

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.


“Lai Yong exhibits two portraits—tolerably good, but rather Chinese in style.”

San Francisco Chronicle, Mechanics’ Institute Fair. Ninth Day. Art Matters—Attendance—Receipts—Programme of Music for This Evening. September 24, 1869, page 3.


LAI YONG, according to historians, was the first known Chinese artist in California; his studio is listed in San Francisco directories as early as 1867, though his only surviving painting, dated 1870, is a portrait of future San Francisco Mayor Adolph Sutro, symbolic of his remarkable success in the white community, considering the restrictive social environment of the time. He was not timid about attacking racist treatment of his people, co-authoring an 1873 pamphlet, “The Chinese Question from a Chinese Standpoint”, read, in translation, to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and even featured in an article in the New York Times. Yong was also a notable photographer, his photos of Chinese subjects appearing at a Mechanics Institute exhibition in 1869, about the time that he opened his Washington Street studio. Historians have noted only four known carte-de-visite photos by Yong – of a Chinese man, a woman, two children, and one self-portrait which shows the artist at work on the portrait of a caucasian woman. The photo offered here appears to be an unknown fifth photo, portraying another Chinese man with similar, but not identical, clothing and accoutrements. It is not surprising that so little of Lai Yong’s work has survived, as he himself disappeared from San Francisco records in 1882 – at the height of the “Chinese exclusion” furor – when he apparently sold his business and may have returned to China.

from Stanford University Libraries

The Chinese Question from a Chinese StandpointAlternative Title: translated by Rev. O. Gibson. 1874. Chinese/Chinese American Communities : Ethnic Studies Library : Edwar Lee papers : Booklets [on the “Chinese Question”] “Chinese in California” Collection, Ethnic Studies Library, UC Berkeley.

Lai Yong, photographer [two young performers in costume]. 1872.
From Chinese In California Collection, Courtesy of California Historical Society.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

Angel Island Insight #1 : AIISF & Del Sol Quartet

ANGEL ISLAND IN SIGHT 2021 is a visual storytelling project focused on Angel Island — a collective portrait of Angel Island drawn from a multitude of views — near and far, past and present. Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs that examines the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and The Del Sol Quartet. public engagement with Del Sol Quartet & Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings.


“While there are inscriptions by immigrants from many different nations that can still be found on the walls of the detention barracks, it’s the 200+ poems left behind by Chinese detainees that helped to save the site’s buildings from being torn down and that secured the site’s status as both a California Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. These poems give us a glimpse into the emotions and experiences of immigrants who were held in detention then.”

Edward Tepporn, Executive Director, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation


Photo: Edward Tepporn. Angel Island Chinese Monument. July 20, 2019.

ANGEL ISLAND IMMIGRATION STATION FOUNDATION (AIISF) raises awareness of the experience of Immigration into America through the Pacific. AIISF collects and preserves the rich stories and personal journeys of thousands of immigrants and shares them with visitors and everyone living in America through education initiatives and public programs. The Angel Island Immigration Station reminds us of the complicated history of immigration in America. It serves as a symbol of our willingness to learn from our past to ensure that our nation keeps its promise of liberty and freedom.

Photo: Russell Nauman. Return to Angel Island – Calvin Ong (Ong Doon). June 26, 2021.

In 1937, ten-year-old Calvin Ong (Ong Doon) was detained on Angel Island by immigration officials on his way into the country. Eighty-four years later—on June 26, 2021—Calvin returned to the U.S. Immigration Station with his family. He briefly spoke about his time as a detainee, and a hospital patient, on Angel Island. 

In this photo, Calvin was looking out the window of the former immigration hospital when he noticed the hillside below. He could remember sitting on the hill and watching the ferry arrive with new immigrants each day. Later, we went outside so Calvin could look out over the water with his children and grandchildren.

— Russell Nauman, Operations Manager, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation


THE DEL SOL QUARTET revels in the risk of constantly reimagining the string quartet, building community around art, artistic process, our environment and our culture. Supported by the nonprofit Del Sol Performing Arts Organization (DSPAO), the Del Sol Quartet shares living music with an ever-growing community of adventurous listeners.

Committed to advancing art’s place in society and providing access to a diverse range of audience, the Quartet focuses on commissioning and performing new works, forming unusual and provocative collaborations, and sharing its work globally through recording and education projects.

THE ANGEL ISLAND ORATORIO PROJECT fits squarely into Del Sol’s tradition of adventurous collaborations between artists and community organizations to create new work with a lasting place in the repertoire and to broaden audiences. These goals are integrally connected to shared experiences and socially-relevant themes. The oratorio provides a new way of examining immigration and the clash between governmental policies and national ideals — relevant both to our history and our current political climate. The work also reflects our individual values of what it means to be American, the stories of how we got here, and the history of our city and state.

Photo: Kathryn Bates, View on Island. 2021.
Photo: Edward Tepporn. Angel Island Immigration Station Barracks. July 20, 2019.
Photo: Kathryn Bates. View of Island. March 13, 2021.
Photo: Kathryn Bates. View from Island. March 13, 2021.
Photo: Edward Tepporn. Hope. Angel Island. June 16, 2019.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit http://www.calhum.org

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

ANGEL ISLAND: IN SIGHT 2021 at the Angel Island Immigration Station is made possible with support from North East Medical Services (NEMS). https://www.nems.org/

USAAF 2021: Angel Island Insight

Del Sol Performing Arts Organization’s ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT explores the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station by offering a suite of virtual and in-person programs examining the musicality of the disappearing Hoisan-wa dialect by The Last Hoisan Poets and Del Sol Quartet.

These presentations expand public engagement with composer Huang Ruo’s Angel Island – Oratorio for Voices and Strings. World premiere performance with Del Sol Quartet and Volti, directed by Robert Geary on October 22 2021, 8pm at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco, with performances on Angel Island on Saturday, October 23, 2021, pending safety restrictions.

“As an Asian American artist, this opportunity to showcase a history that has both a direct connection to my ethnicity as well as a global connection is incredibly empowering.”

– Charlton Lee, Del Sol’s founder & Artistic Director

Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s United States of Asian American Festival 2021 presents ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT with The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet

The Last Hoisan Poets & Del Sol Quartet

In a journey that flows from anger and sorrow, using gratitude as a way to find joy, this Zoom program weaves together their poetry with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers Kui Dong, Theresa Wong, Jungyoon Wie, Huang Ruo, and a collaborative composition performed by The Last Hoisan Poets with the Del Sol Quartet. Artist Q&A moderated by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation’s executive director Edward Tepporn.

Online program held via Zoom on Saturday, May 22, 2021, 2pm.

Three descendants of Angel Island immigrants, The Last Hoisan Poets – Genny Lim, Flo Oy Wong and Nellie Wong – use poetry to speak their individual truths and creatively reclaim the Hoisan-wa language and culture, with performances by the Del Sol Quartet, music by Asian-American composers.

Recording of 5/22/21 APIIC USAAF presents: ANGEL ISLAND INSIGHT with The Last Hoisan Poets and Del Sol Quartet

APICC USAAF 2021 Digital Program

Haw Meong Suey (Good Life’s Water)

This collaborative poem written by poets Nellie Wong, Flo Oy Wong, and Genny Lim, was performed with accompaniment by the Del Sol Quartet on Saturday May 22, 2021 for the United States of Asian America Festival 2021, presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. “Haw meong suey” is a Hoisan-wa phrase that translates as “good life’s water.” A person who has “haw meong suey” is a vessel of blessings.

For more information, please visit https://www.delsolquartet.com/angelislandinsight


This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org

Angel Island Insight: Sound Waves

A Map of Poetry and Music: Sound Waves from Angel Island to the Shore


Angel Island Immigration Station

“Angel Island Poem” sung by HUANG RUO

Chrissy Field Outlook

“Nine Poems for Angel Island” DEL SOL QUARTET

Mountain Lake

“Searching for Grub” by FLO OY WONG

Internet Archive

頭本太真外傳·頭段 (1925) by 梅蘭芳 MEI LANFANG

Clement Street

“Ode to Richmond District” by NORMA RODRIGUEZ

San Francisco Botanical Gardens

“Caterpillars” by FLO OY WONG

Japanese Tea Gardens

“Bunbuku Chagama,” as told by Brenda Wong Aoki

Argonne Community Garden

“Quince Blossoms Emerge” by MARA GRIMES

Ocean Beach

“Hope is Contagious” by VICTOR YAN

Healdsburg Jazz Festival presents “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Through the Eyes of Children”

HEALDSBURG JAZZ is proud to present a FREE family concert titled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Through the Eyes of Children on the birthdate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Friday, January 15 at 7-8 pm PST and again on Saturday, January 16 at 12-1 pm PST. 

The concert is a 1-hour music and spoken word performance inspired by and dedicated to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the music of the Civil Rights Movement, presented in collaboration with Stanford‘s King Research & Education Institute, led by Professor Clayborne Carson who was selected in 1985 by Coretta Scott King to edit and publish the papers of her late husband.

Artistic Director of Healdsburg Jazz Festival Marcus Shelby has put together a wonderful lineup of performers for the virtual program — vocalists Kim Nalley and Tiffany Austin, Tammy Hall on piano, Genius Wesley on drums, with Healdsburg Jazz Poet Laureate Enid Pickett and youth poet Selma Arapa. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Through the Eyes of Children” was filmed at The Sound Room in Oakland, CA, directed by filmmaker Kevin Johnson.

Visit the Healdsburg Jazz Festival website to register for the concert:
https://healdsburgjazz.org/dr-martin-luther-king-jr-through-the-eyes-of-children/

For Educators, Families, Students: Healdsburg Jazz has also created free downloadable resources, including an independent study guide and fact sheet, a timeline, a playlist of songs, a playlist of speeches, and suggested books and poems about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the music of the Civil Rights era.

The Freedom Singers – “Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Set On Freedom” (1964)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on The Soul of The Movement

An important part of the mass meetings was the freedom songs. In a sense the freedom songs are THE SOUL OF THE MOVEMENT.

They are more than just incantations of clever phrases designed to invigorate a campaign; they are as old as the history of the Negro in America. They are adaptations of songs the slaves sang-the sorrow songs, the shouts for joy, the battle hymns, and the anthems of our movement. I have heard people talk of their beat and rhythm, but we in the movement are as inspired by their words. “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom” is a sentence that needs no music to make its point. We sing the freedom songs for the same reason the slaves sang them, because we too are in bondage and the songs add hope to our determination that “We shall overcome, Black and white together, we shall overcome someday.” These songs bound us together, gave us courage together, helped us march together. We could walk toward any Gestapo force. We had cosmic companionship, for we were singing, “Come By Me, Lord, Come By Me.”

With this music, a rich heritage from our ancestors who had the stamina and the moral fiber to be able to find beauty in broken fragments of music, whose illiterate minds were able to compose eloquently simple expressions of faith and hope and idealism, we can articulate our deepest groans and passionate yearnings-and end always on a note of hope that God is going to help us work it out, right here in the South where evil stalks the life of a Negro from the time he is placed in his cradle. Through this music, the Negro is able to dip down into wells of a deeply pessimistic situation and danger-fraught circumstances and to bring forth a marvelous, sparkling, fluid optimism. He knows it is still dark in his world, but somehow, he finds a ray of light.” 

— from The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by CLAYBORNE CARSON.

“FIGURES OF DISCORD SPRING FROM SOUL, reminding us that neither artist nor citizen nor believer ought ever concede their truth in the face of rule or custom…

Ralph Ellison famously claimed for Black music power to curve mind and sense, helping the willing listener to see around corners. Jim Crow, Klan violence, government vacillation and the persistence of war and poverty successively placed hard-angled obstacles before the Movement, demanding an arc of vision that called upon the utmost of imagination and love. The genius of Marcus Shelby, composer, performer, student and citizen, is to teach through artistry, so that we might bend our own sight, and make the worlds we seek to live for.”

DR. ADAM GREEN, University of Chicago on Marcus Shelby’s Soul of The Movement (2011)

Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a 12 part musical suite that honors the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others who marched and protested for freedom. After 3 years of research, artist residencies, and traveling throughout the south Marcus Shelby composed and orchestrated the music for “Soul of the Movement” for his 15 piece big band orchestra with guest vocalists Faye Carol, Kenny Washington, and Jeannine Anderson and guest instrumentalists Howard Wiley (soprano and tenor sax), Matt Clark (B3 Organ), and Sistah Kee (piano). Soul of the Movement was released in 2011 and has become part of school presentations in and around the San Francisco Bay Area on an annual basis.