Wednesday, July 24, 2024

WHQR honors Black Music Month with free concert

WHQR presents a Juneteenth concert celebrating Black Music Month, showcasing the talents of five local Black artists. (Courtesy WHQR)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — WHQR is hosting its third annual celebration of Black Music Month with a concert featuring local black artists.

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At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, WHQR is putting on a concert featuring jazz, spiritual, soul, and gospel artists in honor of Black Music Month. The event will take place on Juneteenth National Independence Day. 

The month of June is Black Music Month, as established by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. It honors the rich and diverse history of African-American music and its significant impact on American society.

Juneteenth is a national holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when slaves were informed they were freed in Texas. It’s often celebrated by Black Americans as Freedom Day and became a federal holiday in 2021 following the momentum of the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

The lineup of performers includes Benny Hill, renowned for his expertise in jazz, including collaborations with house names such as James Brown’s “Soul Generals.” 

Kim Pacheo, a seasoned artist in jazz, soul, and gospel, boasts a 15-year career, having shared stages with luminaries like Debbie Allen and Taj Mahal.

Richard Wright Jr., from Charleston, South Carolina, brings his experience as a pianist, trained in classical, jazz, and gospel genres.

Aaron Leathers, with a diverse background as a choral artists and soloist in operatic, gospel, and Broadway, now specializes in negro spirituals by Black composers from the early 19th century. His performance will complement the vocals of gospel singer Monnie Swepson.

The WHQR event will be hosted by Rhonda Bellamy, founder and CEO of the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County. Bellamy hosts the weekly radio show Around Town on WHQR and has more than 25 years of experience in media in Wilmington. She has been honored with numerous local awards, including the White Lotus Lifetime Achievement Award from NC Project Lead.

The concert will take place at the the MC Erny Gallery at WHQR, 254 N Front Street. It is free to attend but RSVP’s are preferred by emailing with the number of people in the party. 

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