Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr. and the Voices of Inspiration Sing the Praise of African American Holiday Tradition Dec. 14-15
By Annamarya Scaccia
Holiday traditions are sacred.
Whether personal or shared, these festive customs bring both a sense of peace and identity. They’re as definitive as they are joyful, and can follow the history of lineage.
Through melodies and poetry, Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr. and the Voices of Inspirations will trace and celebrate African American heritage as it relates to holiday tradition on Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15. Titled “Christmas Gift! A Celebration of African-American Holiday Traditions through Music and Spoken Word,” the production will take place at 8 p.m. at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Stadium Drive & Route 193 in College Park, on both dates.
During the performance, Rev. Williams, Jr. will interpret traditional Christmas music with African-American spirituals, gospel, jazz and R&B while interweaving selected holiday-centered readings from revolutionary African-American luminaires like Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Langston Hughes. “Christmas Gift!” will also feature performances by R&B songstress Shirley Murdock and singer/songwriter John Stoddart.
The production is inspired by 1963’s Christmas Gif’: An Anthology of Christmas Poems, Songs, and Stories (Follett Publishing Company), a collection of holiday narratives written by and about African-American as compiled by the late Charlemae Hill Rollins.
A “Talk Back” discussion with the artists is scheduled for after the December 14 showing.
Christmas Gift! A Celebration of African-American Holiday Traditions Through Music and Spoken Word
Friday, December 14 & Saturday, December 15
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
Stadium Drive & Route 193
College Park, MD 20742
Photo of Nolan Williams Jr./Courtesy of NEWorks Productions Published on Prince George’s Suite – Monday, December 1, 2012