Thursday, February 13, 2020 (6:00-9:00 pm)
Lift Every Voice and Sing…a Concert Celebration!
Special Guest of Honor: Grace Bumbry
Performances by Jazz Ensemble & Concert Chorus of Dillard High School
Dr. Richard Todd Payne (baritone)
Tona Brown (first African-American transgender mezzo-soprano/violinist to perform at Carnegie Hall and for President)
Nicole Henry (International Jazz Vocalist Artist)
Nova Southeastern University
Don Taft University Center Performance Theater
VAS/JKV Members $35.00 General Public $50.00 NSU Students/Staff Complimentary
6:00 pm Reception 7:00 pm Salon Concert 8:15 Champagne with the Artists
Richard Todd Payne, Baritone
A native of Memphis Tennessee, and a new Assistant Professor of Voice at Missouri State University, Dramatic Baritone Richard Todd Payne’s voice has been described as “Magnificent…Awe-inspiring…Stentorian!” He is sought after nationally for his commanding presence and ringing tones in both Opera and Oratorio. New to the Springfield area, Dr. Payne was last heard as the guest soloist at the State Republican Convention recently held in Springfield. In May 2004 he appeared as soloist for Springfield’s Cancer Relay for Life luminary ceremony, and in Carmina Burana at The President’s Concert. In April 2004 Dr. Payne inaugurated Founder’s Park Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series which was televised on Springfield’s T.V.-23. In February of 2004, Dr. Payne was a guest soloist with the Springfield Symphony where he received rave reviews. In December of 2003 Dr. Payne portrayed the role of Balthasar in Amahl in the Night Visitors, with Springfield Regional Opera; whom he debuted with October2003 as Alidoro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Beginning Fall of 2004, Dr. Payne will serve as a Board Member of the Springfield Regional Opera. In November 2003, Dr. Payne was contacted by the associates of Grammy-Award Recording Artist Lyle Lovett, to put together a choir to sing back up for him on his concert at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. His professional credits include performances with Opera Memphis, Indianapolis Opera, Illinois Opera Theater, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre St. Louis, Chicago Opera Theatre, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Danville Symphony, Eastern Illinois Symphony, Rockford Symphony, and the Memphis Symphony.
Dillard High School Center for the Arts Presents
Dillard Jazz Ensemble and Dillard Concert Choir
Dillard Center for the Arts (DCA) provides training in dance, music, theater, and visual arts, complimented by a rigorous academic curriculum. Students must demonstrate ability and interest in one of the four artistic disciplines to be considered for acceptance.
DCA is fully accredited and offers the same academic curriculum and graduation requirements as all Broward County high schools; the major difference in the academic program is that we offer the added ingredient of correlating the arts with academics, rather than treating either as isolated disciplines. All students spend three hours per day in their art areas, and the remainder of the time in academics or electives.
The arts offered for in-depth study are: Dance, Instrumental and Vocal Music, Theatre Arts, and Visual Arts. In addition, DCA is committed to its role as a college preparatory school, making students aware of the variety of opportunities they have for future training at colleges or universities, advanced art institutes, and conservatories. The school recognizes and values student individuality. It nurtures, without exception, the values of individual accomplishment and independence.
Since individual creativity is integral to the production of art, our faculty and staff work with students on an individualized, human level that stimulates intellectual, artistic, and technical originality. By providing such an environment, we strive to graduate people who can work independently and creatively. At the same time, DCA places high value on group responsibility, loyalty, and sense of community. In a country that is sustained by a democratic process, a sense of individual worth, coupled with a sense of responsibility to a society, is invaluable. It is to these ends that DCA devotes its energies.
The mission of Dillard Center for the Arts is to foster independent thinking and creativity in both a challenging and rewarding environment. Dillard Center For The Arts seeks to offer preparation for higher education and professions in the arts by providing a diversified curriculum not available at the traditional high school, while creating an environment conducive for artistic growth and development for bright and talented high school students residing in Broward County.
Tona Brown, Violin and Mezzo-Soprano
“Meet the First African-American Transgender Performer to take the stage At Carnegie Hall” -Huffington Post
“Tona has an unusual voice people should hear,” said Baltimore Vocal Arts Foundation founder Robyn Stevens. “It’s very powerful, with the cartilage and larynx of a man, but with a feminine quality. The timbre is unique.” -Baltimore Sun
Tona Brown is an American violinist, mezzo soprano and the first transgender woman to perform at Carnegie Hall. She was the first African American transgender woman to perform for an American president. Tona started playing violin at the age of 10, attended the Governor’s School for the Arts, an art high school program for gifted and talented students. Brown was formally educated at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music studying violin performance with minors in viola, piano and voice.
In 2014, he vocalist and violinist performed at the historic venue that is Carnegie Hall during LGBT Pride this June, and will be the first African American transgender woman ever to do so. “I have dreamed of performing at Carnegie Hall since I was 14 years old, when I was attending the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia,” Brown told The Huffington Post in an interview. “It was there at the Governor’s School, that I realized that if I practiced, and studied with the best, one day I could perform at Carnegie Hall. She also performed the National Anthem for President Barack Obama, a personal dream of the musician.
Brown’s performance will feature music from her debut album “This Is Who I Am,” a tribute to African American composers, including songs “Deep River” and “Dream Variations.” “I have been studying African American Art Songs and Negro spirituals, and I’d like to showcase some of these rarely heard gems to the audience,” she explained. “The concert is called from ‘Stonewall to Carnegie Hall’ because we want to educate people about the plight of LGBT Americans, from 1969 to the present, through music and speech.”
Despite the social and emotional challenges of growing up as, in her words, an “androgynous” child, Brown’s mix of masculinity and femininity served her well in terms of her musical talent, allowing her to tap into a vocal style few others possess. “I can’t imagine wanting to perform for an event, or person, more,” she said. “I actually wasn’t nervous at all. Meeting President Obama changed my life for the better, because I realized that if I could achieve the goal of performing for the President of the United States, then I had to set my goals even higher!” Today she has words of encouragement for young people struggling to be themselves and achieve their goals: “My advice for transgender youth is to not allow others to make you believe that you are not worthy of achieving whatever dreams you have. I can’t tell you how many people had no problems telling me that I would not succeed being ‘out’, as a transgender artist.”
Nicole Henry, International Jazz Sensation
“(Henry) can sell a power ballad as well as Whitney, Diana and Patti.” – Jazz Times
“She is the genuine article, the dream at last come true..” – Huffington Post
Since her debut in 2004, Nicole Henry has established herself as one of the jazz world’s most acclaimed vocalists, possessing a potent combination of dynamic vocal abilities, impeccable phrasing, and powerful emotional resonance. Her passionate, soulful voice and heart-felt charisma has earned her a Soul Train Award for “Best Traditional Jazz Performance,” and three Top-10 U.S. Billboard and HMV Japan jazz albums. Heralded by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Japan Times, El Pais, Jazz Times, Essence and more, Ms. Henry tells real stories through peerless interpretations of repertoire from the American Songbook, classic and contemporary jazz, popular standards, blues and originals.
She has captivated audiences in over 20 countries, headlining at venues in cities including New York, Tokyo, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Miami. Ms. Henry has also performed in more than 30 music festivals worldwide and in some of the world’s most famous venues including Blue Note; Jazz at Lincoln Center; Blues Alley; Arsht Center; Feinstein’s; Green Mill; Jazz St. Louis; Madrid Jazz Festival; the Regattabar; and Catalina Jazz.
Nilda Comas, Master Sculptor
“Artist’s Presentation” by Nilda Comas about her commission by the State of Florida for a larger than life-size monument of Mary McLeod Bethune to represent the State of Florida at the US Capitol as part of the National Statuary Hall’s permanent collection.
Nilda Comas, master sculptor, gives an extremely rare opportunity with the artist to learn about this historic commission as well as the research, inspiration, technique, and experience necessary for undertaking such a daunting project. Nilda will lead us through the step by step process of first winning the commission…then the concept, development, and execution of a master sculptor. Mary McLeod Bethune will be the first African American to be part of the National Statuary Hall’s Collection. Nilda travels between her studio in Fort Lauderdale and her studio in Pietrasanta, Italy where she is currently working on the eight-foot clay model for the marble sculpture.
Nilda was born and raised in San Juan Puerto Rico and will be the first Hispanic woman to sculpt a portrait for the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The monument will be a total of 11 feet, including the base, and will be sculpted in Statuario marble extracted from the same cave in Carrara, Italy that has been used for centuries by histories greatest artists such as Michelangelo cave in Carrara, Italy. Since last January this cave of Michelangelo was closed by the Italian Government after over 500 years. This block was the largest perfect block excavated from this cave in many years. Nilda’s works are part of public and private collections in the U.S., Europe and South America. Comas divides her time between Fort Lauderdale and Pietrasanta, Italy, where she At the Studio Franco Cervietti in Pietrasanta, Italy, Nilda learned the techniques of marble carving while attending the Accademia de Bella Arti di Carrara. She also studied under master carver Enzo Pasquini.
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Performance Theater Don Taft University Center
3301 College Ave, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl, 33314