Jazz for a centennial

Concert celebrates Niagara Movement

Concert celebrates Niagara Movement

March 31, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - While audience members are listening to the soulful tunes coming out of Red Holloway's saxophone Friday night, he'll be listening for their reaction.

"My purpose is to try and make people happy and entertain them. I have to figure out what they like," said Holloway, who has performed with Billie Holiday and Muddy Waters.

It takes him two or three tunes to find out.

"If (I hear) polite applause, it went over like a lead balloon. You have to switch gears and go do something else," said Holloway, 77, of Cambria, Calif., south of Monterey.


Todd Bolton loves Holloway's sound and arranged for him to perform this Friday as part of a fund-raiser for the 2006 Niagara Centennial events.

"I love his playing. He's a great kind of a bop player in the style of Charlie Parker (or) Dizzy Gillespie in terms of jazz," said Bolton, project director for the Niagara Movement Centennial at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. "He does a great job of singing the blues."

"An Evening with Jazz and Blues Legend Red Holloway," beginning at 8 p.m. Friday at the Quality Inn ballroom in Harpers Ferry, also will feature Pete Lancaster and Stack-O-Blues. The event is co-sponsored by the Jefferson County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Harpers Ferry Historical Association.

Holloway can play flute, clarinet, bass fiddle, piano, penny whistle, different drums and the saxophone - the last of which he will be playing Friday.

"Music, nowadays, is more than just playing an instrument, or standing there. People like to be entertained. So I decided to learn to do that," said Holloway, who tells stories during his concerts.

The Niagara Movement was the cornerstone to the modern Civil Rights movement and the precursor to the modern NAACP, said Bolton, who is a member of both sponsoring organizations.

The Niagara Movement held its second meeting and its first on U.S. soil on the campus of Storer College in Harpers Ferry Aug. 15 to 19 in 1906, according to centennial celebration information.

Bolton said the movement is a significant part of history, but not one about which many people know.

The centennial will be a good opportunity to educate people about it, he said.

Concert proceeds go toward the approximate $250,000 cost of the centennial celebration, Bolton said. That includes paying for performers, speakers and setting up for the event.

Funding has been lacking, so an extra fund-raiser might be added, he said.

Events planned for the centennial, from Aug. 14 through Aug. 20, 2006, include an academic symposium and music and drama programs, Bolton said.

If you go

WHAT: "An Evening with Jazz and Blues Legend Red Holloway" presented by the Jefferson County branch of the NAACP and Harpers Ferry Historical Association. The concert also will feature Pete Lancaster and Stack-O-Blues.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, April 1

WHERE: Quality Inn ballroom, 4328 William L. Wilson Freeway, Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

COST: Advance tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and children. All tickets sold at the door are $20. For tickets and information, call 1-304-535-6881 or 1-800-821-5206.

DIRECTIONS: Take Alternate U.S. 40 through Boonsboro to Md. 67 south. Take Md. 67 to U.S. 340 west toward Charles Town, W.Va., and Harpers Ferry, W.Va. After crossing the Shenandoah River and going half a mile, the Quality Inn is at the top of the hill on the left.

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