By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online.
By NANCYE TUTTLE
UMass Lowell is observing Black History Month with a Black Arts Festival that features performances, concerts and lectures throughout February.
Events kick off today at 3 p.m. with the concert "Classically Black, The Poetry of Langston Hughes," at Durgin Hall, Wilder Street, on UMass Lowell's South Campus.
Guest artist Rawn Spearman will perform with the university's chamber orchestra, String Currents, under the direction of professor Kay George Roberts, and the joint university choirs, under the direction of professor Christopher McGahan. Spearman, a professor emeritus at UMass Lowell, is a proponent of the presentation of Hughes' poetry in New England. The concert is free.
Other events include a a poetry reading by black arts movement poet and author Askia Toure on Friday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. in O'Leary Library, room 222; a showing of Strange Fruit, a documentary tracing the journey of Billie Holiday's anti-lynching song, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 4:30 p.m., again in O'Leary 222; and a performance by jazz flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room in Fox Hall on the North Campus.
There will be a youth empowerment day on Saturday, Feb. 22, and two "Taste of Soul" food events with an array of African American dishes on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 4:30-6 p.m. in South Campus Dining Hall and on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 4:30-6 p.m. in Fox Dining Hall.
The percussive dance group Step Afrika! from Washington, D.C., performs on Monday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. in Durgin Concert Hall. Black Magic, a concert of original songs by UMass Lowell music majors Robin Burnett, Maxx Lewis, Stanley Swan and friends is slated for Thursday, Feb. 27, at 1 p.m. in Durgin Concert Hall.
All events are open to the public. Call Stephen Coggs at 978-934-2231 for information and the full lineup.