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Manchester celebrates African-American poets of the Harlem Renaissance with musical theatre event

MLK50-180pxNORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – Manchester University will celebrate the lives of great African-American poets Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay in a unique chamber music theatre work Thursday, Feb. 15.

The Core Ensemble will perform “Of Ebony Embers: Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance” at 7 p.m. in Cordier Auditorium on the North Manchester campus. It is free and open to the public.

In this presentation, actor Dracyn Blount portrays multiple characters while interacting with the onstage musical trio of Ju Young Lee on cello, Mikael Darmanie on piano and Michael Parola on percussion. The lives of the poets are seen through the eyes of muralist and painter Aaron Douglas, with the script by director Akin Babatunde.

The musical score includes works by jazz giants Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Billy Strayhorn, Thelonius Monk and Charles Mingus, as well as concert music by Jeffrey Mumford and George Walker.

Since 1993, the Core Ensemble has toured in every region of the United States and internationally to England, Russia, the Ukraine, Australia and the British Virgin Islands. The ensemble received the 2000 Eugene McDermott Award for Excellence in the Arts awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Of Ebony Embers” is part of the Values, Ideas, and Art series at the University, which offers academic enrichment for students.

This presentation is also part of a larger conversation throughout the 2017-18 academic year honoring MU’s tradition of peace and justice. Fifty years ago, on Feb. 1, 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to an overflow audience at Manchester on “The Future of Integration.” It was his last address at a college campus before his assassination.

About Manchester University
Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers more than 60 areas of academic study to nearly 1,600 students in undergraduate programs, a Master of Athletic Training, a Master of Pharmacogenomics and a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy. It has students from 20 nations and is home to the world's first undergraduate peace studies program, established in 1948. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at www.manchester.edu.

January 2018