Community Voices

Black in Time: Hampton House concert celebrates Christmas

All around us the sights and sounds of Christmas bring the holiday to life. A recent tradition in our community is the annual concert presented by The Historic Hampton House Community Trust, Inc.

In its fourth year, the concert, titled “Bridging Classics of the Past with Classics of the Future,” will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Church of the Incarnation, 1835 NW 54th St.

Admission is free and open to the public. According to Enid Pinkney, founding president and CEO: “The Board of Trustees, Advisory Board, sponsors and supporters invite the community to join us for an exciting afternoon. You will hear music of the season, a brief update on the rehabilitation of the Hampton House Motel, and see the unveiling of a specially designed addition to this locally designated historic site.”

At the concert, the sounds will come together under the direction of Florida Memorial University’s Professor Nelson Hall, who is known for his gifts as a pianist, conductor, and composer/arranger. He is committed to using his community’s musical diversity to promote understanding and harmony. Local participants will perform classical music highlighting Handel’s Messiah.

Featured artist, jazz vocalist and violinist, Nicole Yarling is described by some in the industry as having a rich velvet voice with technical skill and personality. Her musical experiences include tours with the late Dizzy Gillespie and featured soloist with Jimmy Buffett. A protégé of jazz singer the late Joe Williams, Yarling performed eight worldwide tours with her own project.

Joining Yarling is Cynthia “Chelle” Reed, concert master; Jean Colla Huaqzo, soprano soloist; Denise Anderson, alto soloist; Josef Spenser, tenor soloist; Carl DuPont Jr., bass soloist; and the 2014 Miami Messiah Community Mass Choir.

While the concert sounds will celebrate the season, the sight of the new addition to the historic Hampton House, the Crystal Donor’s Glass Railing, is expected to evoke amazement from the audience.

The glass railing is being designed by former Miami resident Carl “C.J.” Latimore, a 1971 Miami Jackson Senior High School graduate and nationally recognized artist. He is known for producing socially conscious objects celebrating the achievements of blacks through commemorative art.

For this Hampton House project Latimore is creating a 120-foot glass railing with etched scenes that pay tribute to significant figures in black history, all former guests at the Hampton House during the era of segregation and beyond. The scenes will include the images of Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sammy Davis Jr., Althea Gibson, Nancy Wilson and Jackie Wilson.

Donors names will be permanently inscribed on connecting panels. Through this creative fund-raising venture, corporations, small businesses, churches, fraternal organizations and individuals will be recognized.

This project will be used to raise the $1.3 million needed to complete unfinished spaces and finalize the $6million dollar Hampton House restoration. 

Now living in Long Beach, California, Latimore will attend the Miami concert to unveil a replica of the glass railing. Arrangements for the concert and public unveiling were made possible by concert committee chair Charlayne W. Thompkins and co-chair Catherine Carter with committee members Rev. James Bell, Alfreda Brown, Cynthia Clarke, William E. Clarke III, Errol A. Harvey, Edwin T. Demeritte, Enid C. Pinkney, Diane Rolle, Josephine Davis Rolle, Diane Paschal, Cecilia Stewart, Gloria Green, Karen Duty, Marsha James, Claudia Slater and Terriceda Newkirk.

The committee was assisted by consultants who gave time, expertise, dedication and commitment: Ronald Butler, Cornell Crews, Benjamin S. Essien, Karen P. Moore, Ronald Frazier and Wendell James.

Generous sponsors for this event include Miami-Dade County, Landmark Development Corporation, Church of the Open Door Chancel Choir, Church of the Incarnation, Lambeth and Nagel Communications, Jessica Garret Modkins Communications, Nelson Hall and Luis Gonzalez.

The Historic Hampton House Community Trust, Inc. is a 501©(3) organization and welcomes tax deductible donations to further its cause. Scheduled to reopen in 2015, the historic Hampton House will serve the community as an all-purpose center. For further information visit: www.historichamptonhousemiami.org or call 305-638-5800.

Dorothy Jenkins Fields, PhD, is a historian and founder of the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida Inc. Send feedback to djf@bellsouth.net.

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