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Celebrating a Tapestry of music and culture

By News | Last updated: May 30, 2014 - 10:17:35 AM

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DETROIT - The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Smith Jackson Arts recently presented “Tapestry: A Spiritual Odyssey,” a concert program paying homage to legendary musician Sylvia Olden Lee and composer Adolphus Hailstork, and celebrating the accomplishments of Blacks in the fine and performing arts.

This fundraiser for the museum featured the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, who is a violinist; Willis C. Patterson’s Our Own Thing Chorale, Gospel Choir Testimony directed by Alvin Waddles, Baritone Daniel Washington, A Porgy and Bess Suite featuring rising Opera stars Kimwana Doner and Nick Davis, Rick Robinson CutTime String Quartet, internationally acclaimed soprano Louise Toppin and others performed.

The program included an array of Black musical expression from opera to jazz. Minister Farrakhan closed the program by playing violin alongside his violin instructor Dr. Ayke Agus and Ms. Toppin, who is also a protégé of the late Ms. Olden Lee.


“This museum must not close. So to keep this marvelous place open and thriving is our duty so that many more people from all over the country and all over the world can come and see what we have been through,” said Minister Farrakhan at the end of the May 18 program.

Sylvia Olden Lee was a world-renowned vocal coach and accompanist who encouraged Minister Farrakhan to return to playing the violin after a long hiatus from music.

Willis Patterson a former president of the National Association of Negro invited the Minister to perform. He thanked the Minister, a longtime acquaintance, and called him the highlight of the benefit concert.

“Tapestry: A Spiritual Odyssey” showcased the breadth of the artistic Diaspora of Blacks through the diversity of genres from opera to jazz to classical music. Others performers included opera legend George Shirley.  All proceeds benefited the Wright Museum. Look for more in an upcoming edition of The Final Call.

Watch "Tapestry: A Spiritual Odyssey" Online @