Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Beautiful music has the power to lift spirits, get you through the day

Bea Hines
Bea Hines

Growing up in a world that was not always kind to people who looked like me, one of the things that I found solace in was music. I learned to love all kinds of music — from Negro spirituals to gospel (both black and country gospel), and from contemporary to classical.

For this, I can thank my late mom, who after dinner most nights, got out the old Gospel Pearls songbook and the three of us — my brother Adam included — would gather around the desk in the living room of our small apartment and sing in harmony.

My love of music was also encouraged by two of my teachers — Mable Glover, when I was at Phillis Wheatley Elementary school, and later Leila Williams at Booker T. Washington Junior, Senior High School.

As I remember these two women and their wonderful voices, I’d like to think that in another place and time, either, or both of them probably could have made singing their profession, perhaps even making it to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

Instead, they chose to instill the love of all music, especially Negro spirituals and the classics in children like me. So, the love of music grew up in me. It helped to shape the person I am today. When you sing or hum a beautiful melody throughout the day, there is little space for anything negative. For that, I am eternally grateful to my mom, Mable Glover and Leila Williams.

The story about my love of music brings me to this: A warm “thank you” to Seraphic Fire and Patrick Dupre Quigley, the musical group’s artistic director for the work they are doing with children, especially the under-served youth in our community through its Miami Choral Academy.

This year, the academy has evolved to connect with more than 10 times the number of students than in previous seasons by performing education concerts to nearly 2,000 students this year and giving presentations at four different schools, three times throughout the year.

The after-school program is tuition-free and serves elementary and middle school students in Miami-Dade County’s economically disadvantaged communities. The program offers a hand-on approach to music education.

According to a news release from Seraphic Fire, the new initiative involves partnerships with elementary schools, such as Natural Bridge and Morningside, and with the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. the center will host Seraphic fire’s first education concert in December.

Students in the program will also have access to choral education opportunities and scholarships in the South Florida community.

Throughout the school year, Seraphic Fire artists will visit schools for presentations to include music theory fundamentals, vocal pedagogy, and interactive exercises with the artists.

“Seraphic Fire’s goal is to engage more students in the Miami-Dade community by offering them a chance to interact with world-class musicians and experience the beauty of a finely tuned vocal ensemble in live performance,” said Seraphic Fire Managing Director Rhett Del Campo.

Dr. James K. Bass will direct the program. He is Seraphic Fire’s chorus master, as well as director of choral studies at the University of South Florida.

For more information about the academy, contact Ross Chuchia, director of operations at 305-692-0268, or send an email to

Community leaders honored

The community is invited to A.M.A.C. Night, presented by Miami Gardens Councilman Erhabor Ighodaro and The African Museum of Arts and Culture. The event will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Nine O One Event and Conference Center, 901 NW 183rd St. in Miami Gardens.

The evening will benefit the center and eight community leaders will be honored with the Medal of Glory: Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan, government; Babacar M’Bow, arts and culture; R. Donahue Peebles, business; Betsy Kaplan, education; Ola OLaigbe, philanthropy; Winnie Tang, volunteerism and community service; the Rev. Arthur Jackson III, ministry, and Peter Ojeme, lifetime achievement.

Tickets for the event are $75 each. For tickets and for more information call 305-450-5316 or go to,

Women’s Equality Day

You are invited to join U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens; Florida state Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Opa-locka; and Florida state Sen. Dwight M. Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, in celebrating National Women’s Equality Day.

The event will be at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at TACOLCY Center, 6161 NW Ninth Ave. in Liberty City.

In 1971, thanks to U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug of New York, the Congress designated Aug. 26 as Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.

According to a news release, the commemoration also calls attention to the continuing efforts to overcome the significant challenges that women still face in achieving full equality.

The program will include elected officials and community leaders discussing the need for better wages, paid sick days, paid family leave, equal pay for equal work and other economic security issues that women need to close the equality gap.

For more information, call Deborah Dion at 305-213-3165.

Student football and cheerleading

Registration for Fall 2015 tackle football and cheerleading programs is now taking place at Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. The program is open to children ages 5 through 15 and registration will remain open until all teams are filled.

Parents may register their children from 2 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Gwen Cherry Club, 7090 NW 22nd Ave.; the Northwest Club, 10915 NW 14th Ave.; and the Kendall Club, 9475 N. Kendall Dr.

The cost at the Gwen Cherry Club is $70 for football and $50 for cheerleading; $90 for football and $60 for cheerleading at the Northwest Club; and $140 for football and $130 for cheerleading at the Kendall Club. The fees include equipment and uniforms.

For more information or to inquire about coaching, contact the Gwen Cherry Club at 305-694-4889, ext. 227; the Kendall Club at 305-279-3019, or the Northwest Club at 305-758-5753.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.