Here is a two-fer that could only happen in Chicago, home of more Poles than any other city than Warsaw, Poland, and a center of African-American cultural life, and it is free. Get off that couch and hear something unique and unifying at the DuSable Museum on March 4th.
The concert features Polish folk and patriotic music as well as various forms of African-American music, including blues, spirituals, and gospel. It includes narrations that point out surprising similarities between the histories and experiences of African Americans and Polish Americans in Chicago. Marcia Berry, director of NGOMA, and Lucyna Migala will serve as narrators. The Lira Singers will be conducted by Mina Zikri, resident conductor of the Ensemble.
The concert is scheduled on Sunday, March 4 at 3 p.m. at the DuSable Museum of African American History located at 740 East 56th Place, Chicago (at 57th Street and south Cottage Grove in Washington Park)
Admission is free – to both the museum and the concert, so this might even be a three-fer deal. The museum is a gem of history and culture, tucked into the beautiful Washington Park. There is easy parking, too.
The concert celebrates DuSable Day, honoring the memory and legacy of Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable – the “Father of Chicago” and the city’s first settler and businessman. The Museum will celebrate the day with performances and special events from 12 p.m. through 5 p.m. Admission is free for all.
This is the fifth performance of Lira’s African-American/Polish-American concert at theDuSable Museum. For the past 20 years, the Lira Ensemble has produced cross-ethnic concerts with African Americans and Latinos that have been lauded by community leaders. In 2007, the National Museum of Mexican Art presented its Sor Juana Award to Lucyna Migala, Lira’s artistic director and general manager, in recognition of this work. In 2001, Lira won the Human Relations Award of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations for this series. At the award presentation, the Commission commented: “Combining social responsibility with artistic excellence, Lira produces and performs joint concerts with artists of other racial and ethnic groups, viewing art as a universal language with the power to confront prejudice and misunderstanding.”
The Chicago Tribune praised Lira’s African-American production in a color photo feature article, calling it “…an afternoon of unusual entertainment…of two musical worlds…of blacks and whites together.”
The NGOMA Group consists of artists from throughout the black community of Chicago. The Lira Ensemble is the nation’s only professional performing arts company specializing in Polish music, song, and dance. The Lira company is artist-in-residence at Loyola University Chicago.
This African-American/Polish-American event is funded in part by Kraft, by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency and the CityArts Program of the Chicago Department of Tourism and Culture.
Admission to both the DuSable Museum and the concert are free on March 4th and free parking is available adjacent to the museum. For more information about this cross-cultural event, please call the Lira Ensemble at 773-508-7040 · www.liraensemble.org
- History Begets History: Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable (historyisastateofmind.wordpress.com)