Saturday, May 27, 2017

Social and Civic Whirl

If you were not in attendance at The I. Sherman Greene’s “Salute to Black Composers Concert,” you missed a wonderful performance by The I. Sherman Greene Chorale, a high school choir and two university choirs – I. C. Norcom High School, Old Dominion University and North Carolina A&T University. The concert, held at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center Auditorium, was filled with enthusiastic music lovers who enjoyed the voices of very, very talented young people in addition to The I. Sherman Greene Chorale.

Dr. Robert Parsons, President of the Chorale’s Board of Directors brought the Greetings followed by the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” arranged by Elizabeth Vaughan Eccles and sung by the Women’s Ensemble directed by Nancy Klein. Joe Harmon, director of the I.C. Norcom Concert Choir, directed the Men’s Ensemble in singing “If My People.”

Prior to each choir’s performance an introduction was done by Dr. Reuthenia Clark, member of The Chorale’s Board of Directors; President of the Board of Directors, Dr. Robert Parsons; and Dr. Douglas Owens, Chair of the Old Dominion University Department of Music. The I. C. Norcom Choir under the direction of Joe Harmon began the program with two selections. They sang “Old Time Religion” arranged by Moses Hogan and Roland Carter’s “In Bright Mansions” that brought the audience to their feet. Following I. C. Norcom, the Old Dominion University Choir, directed by Nancy Klein and accompanied by Bobbie Kesler-Corleto performed “We Are,” and “Crucifixion” by Ysaye Barnwell, Adolphus Hailstork respectively; and the arrangement of “Rockin’ Jerusalem” by Andre Thomas. The North Carolina A & T Choir was extremely powerful. Under the direction of Travis W. Alexander and accompanied by Rochelle L. Joyner the choir sang “Great Day” arranged by Adolphus Hailstork; “Ride In the Chariot” arranged by Brandon Waddles;” and Nathan Carter’s “It Pays to Serve Jesus.” “More Love To Thee” (A medley) arranged by Joseph Joubert included “How I Love Jesus,” “Anybody Here Who Loves My Jesus,” and “My Soul Loves Jesus.”

The superb I. Sherman Greene Chorale was the last to perform. With Elizabeth V. Eccles at the helm and accompanied by Randy Walston, The I. Sherman Greene Chorale treated the audience to Jester Hairston’s arrangement of “You Better Mind;” “My God Is So High” with tenor soloist Quarmaine Stephenson and arranged by Moses Hogan; and Stacy Gibbs arrangement of “Witness” featuring soprano Olivia Rominiyi and baritone Russell Teague. The Program ended with the combined choirs, directed by Travis Alexander and Elizabeth Eccles with “Le’s Have a Union” arranged by Salone Clary (who was in the audience) and Uzee Brown’s arrangement of “We Shall Overcome.”

Ann B. McInnis and George Ricks were acknowledged for their commitment to and sharing their musical talent to THE I. SHERMAN GREENE CHORALE for 45 YEARS.
A great ushering job was done by Girl Scout Troop #511 and troop leader Cynthia Corbett guided by, Estelle Bussey, Board Chair.

Norfolk Chapter of Club DeJouir Inc. Indicts New Member

Hermione Everett has become the latest member of the Norfolk Chapter of Club Dejouir, Inc. She was inducted into this chapter of sophisticated and talented Dejouir women on March 17, 2017 at the home of Dejouir Ester G. Whitley.

Following the impressive ceremony, the ladies fellowshipped and presented Hermione with wonderful gifts. Members present at the induction service and enjoying a delicious repast were President Loleta Hammond, June Banks, Barbara Gibbs, Shelby Giles, Betty Harris, Andrea Jackson, Shirley Keys and Sarah Woods.

During the summer, from June 23-25, 2017, Dejouir members are looking forward to attending and having a grand time at their annual Conclave in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Woman’s Club of Norfolk, which was organized on February 16, 1916 by civic and community minded women, began their 101st year being recognized by Old Dominion University (ODU) during their 33rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Program where the theme was Celebrating Women’s Achievements and the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The ladies of the Woman’s Club were honored for carrying on the tradition of the founders by continuing, for 100 years, to be actively involved in civic and community affairs of Hampton Roads.

MARGOT LEE SHETTERLY, author of the book “HIDDEN FIGURES: THE AMERICAN DREAM and THE UNTOLD STORY OF BLACK WOMEN MATHEMATICIANS WHO HELPED WIN THE SPACE RACE.” Shetterly who is a 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, is the founder of the HUMAN COMPUTER PROJECT. This project is a “digital archives of the stories of NASA’s African-Americans whose work tipped the balance in favor of the United States in World War II, the Cold War and space race.” Margot called these extraordinary Americans “HUMAN COMPUTERS.” She is the co-founder, with Aran Shetterly, of the magazine “Inside Mexico.”

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Program began with a Welcome and Recognition by THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALE DEAN, DR. STEPHANIE G. ADAMS, of OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY FRANK BATTEN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING and TECHNOLOGY. This was followed by Ysaye Barnwell’s “We Are …” sung by the F. Ludwig Diehn Chorale. After the musical selection there was a Presentation by The Women’s Center and the Presentation of the Hugo A. Owens Martin Luther King, Jr. Award presented by John R. Boderick, President of Old Dominion University, assisted by Hugo A. Owens, Jr. Once the Keynote Speaker, Margot Lee Shetterly, had concluded her inspirational and motivational words, Cecelia T. Tucker, Assistant to the President for Community Relations at Old Dominion gave the Closing Remarks. The F. Ludwig Diehn Chorale closed this wonderful program by singing “Rockin Jerusalem” which was arranged by Andre Thomas.

The Murray Center located in downtown Norfolk was the venue for a celebration honoring the First African-American Navy Seal, William “Bill” Goines (United States Navy, Retired). After watching “a film about an underwater demolition which occurred during World War II, Goines stated that “his fate was sealed right there.” Although the pool in his home town was for whites only, Bill would not let that deter him from reaching his goal. He taught himself to swim in the local creek and was ready to meet the challenge to become a Navy Seal. When President Kennedy, in 1962, formed Navy Seal teams on the East and West coasts, Bill Goines was the only African-American, out of 40 men, selected to join the team of trainees. During his journey to become a Navy Seal, in the early sixties, William had to face a myriad of military challenges and the racism of the times. Master Chief Petty Officer Bill Goines retired after spending 32 years, of his life, serving our country in the military. Following his retirement, from the Navy, Goines served as chief of police, for 14 years, for the Portsmouth school system; and, after that, he recruited persons to become NAVY SEALS.

The program celebrating Bill Goines, The First African-American Seal, who was honored at the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture in the presence of THE First African-American President – Barack H. Obama was called to order by Mary Redd Nelson/Board Chair of Oakmont Community Development Corporation (OCDC). Members of the Dias were also introduced by Nelson. This was followed by the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The Mistress of Ceremonies for this auspicious affair was Barbara Ciara, Managing Editor of WTKR News 3 and WGN TV channel 27. Melvin Walker, Treasurer of OCDC, did the welcome; Board Member of OCDC, Arthur Jarrett gave the occasion. “Let Us Bread Together” was sung by Dr. James Howell. Following the invocation by Rev. Dr. Joseph P. Lee, Pastor of Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church, guests ate a delicious buffet breakfast prepared by Bernard Green and the Murray Center Staff. After breakfast, Dr. James Howell sang in his melodious voice “To God Be the Glory.”

The Honorable Matthew James the 80th District Delegate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, introduced the speaker for the celebration The Honorable Robert “Bobby” Scott, Congressman 3rd District of Virginia. Congressman Scott gave brief and inspiring remarks. Because there are unsung heroes, Scott quoted Yogi Berra, and I paraphrase, “Days or occasions like these are necessary.” Rev. William Collins, Jr. brought the audience to their feet with his rendition of “America the Beautiful.”

Master Corpsman (Navy Seal Retired) Fred “Doc” McCarty a personal friend of the honoree, since 1962, gave very personal expressions of friendship and gratitude. State Delegate, representing the 90th District of the Commonwealth of Virginia The Honorable Joseph C. Lindsey read a Resolution from the General Assembly which was passed on February 15, 2017. William D. Sessoms, Jr., Mayor of Virginia Beach, sent a Certificate of Appreciation. Prior to the Benediction by Rev. Joseph P. Lee, Stacy Darden and Mary Redd Nelson representing Oakmont Community Development Corporation presented Master Chief Petty Officer Goines (United States Navy, Retired) with a trophy that listed his accomplishments and the name of his church. Because of her steadfast caring and love of Bill, his wife of 52 years, Marie Davis Goines was also given an award.

Thank you Master Chief Petty Officer William “Bill” Goines (United States Navy, Retired) for your service to mankind. You not only served your country as an “Officer” you are what we consider a “true gentleman!!!”

Carter Godwin Woodson, a native Virginian, established Negro (Black) History Week in February 1926 which became a month long commemoration in 1976. In addition to establishing Negro History Week, Woodson was an author, historian, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African Life and History (formerly known as The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History). Carter G. Woodson was the founder, in 1915, of The Journal of Negro History and has been called the FATHER OF NEGRO HISTORY.

In keeping with Carter G. Woodson’s vision, the 2016-2017 Norfolk Public Library (NPL) Multicultural Committee honored eight Hampton Roads trailblazers. The third annual NPL presentation was hosted by Jessica Harvey, the manager of the Horace C. Downing Branch Library.

Welcome was given by Sonal Rastogi, who is the Director of the Norfolk Public Library. Chrystall Elliott-Smith accompanied by Frank T. Elliott treated the audience to two uplifting songs: “I Will Lift Up My Eyes Unto the Hills,” and “Lord I Am Available to You.”

This was followed by the keynote address. or as the program stated, “A TALK” by Arnold Avant, valedictorian of the Booker T. class of 1961 who earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and is President and CEO of Adsystech, Inc. He was introduced by his childhood friend and neighbor Roland Hayes (BTW class of 1966).

Avant based his talk on the National Theme, “Crisis in Black Education,” selected by the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. Mr. Avant described the crisis we face today as “the Devolution of Education because the crisis, especially in Norfolk, was not there always.”

Avant offered a couple of anecdotes to support his assertion. First, after finding out that Arnold had graduated from Booker T., “The Factory,” a young classmate at Catholic University, who became a professor at MIT, wanted to know what was in the water at THAT SCHOOL because he had met several Booker T. graduates who impressed him.

Next was the high level of teaching offered by the likes of Aline Black Hicks and John Perry (chemistry and physics); Jimmy Johnson (trigonometry and solid geometry); and Celestyne Diggs Porter (education and law). In addition to those named, there were other outstanding teachers and administrators at Booker T. Washington High School.

Arnold, although acknowledging that we have serious problems, questioned whether our crisis in education is a symptom or a problem. He said we cannot allow others or ourselves to believe propaganda that defines us by the worst of our conditions; that systemic problems should not be a focus for Blacks only but for the entire nation.

In ending his speech, Avant stated that we need practical initiatives such as The Saturday School which is a “nonprofit that partners with the Montgomery County, Maryland Public School System designed to close performance gaps for underachieving students in grades 1-12 from lower socio economic backgrounds and programs that accelerate performance for other students.”

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Prior to being introduced and giving brief remarks, a video and interview was shown of each of the eight trailblazers.

The first person to be honored was educator, historian, and entrepreneur Dr. E. Curtis Alexander, who is a lifelong resident of the Bells Mills community of Norfolk County (now Chesapeake). This author of over 40 books, introduced by nephew Kelvin Hawkins, is curator of the Bells Mills Historical Research and Restoration Society, Inc. (BMHRRS) and OIC of the United States Colored Troops Descendants (USCTD).

The BMHRRS has been responsible for placing Historic Colored School Markers in Chesapeake and also having Historic Street Signs placed in Chesapeake.

Also honored was Mrs. Barbara Alexander (BTW class of 1962), wife of Curtis. She is an educator, African Folklorist and writer. This honoree was introduced by Reverend Gloria Johnson. During her 30 years of service, Barbara Alexander has been a college professor, professional Developer for Children’s Literacy Initiative and the principal of the Ruth Nelson Cooke Academy in Norfolk. She also wrote two books including “Papa’s Penny Party” that talks about the times she spent helping her grandfather in his grocery store on St. Julian Avenue.

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Dr. James R. Newby, II presented his sister, Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, a history professor at Norfolk State University, director of the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies and author of several Black History publications. She has an upcoming article on the life and activities of Vivian Carter Mason, the third president of the National Council of Negro Women.

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Before the presentations of the last honorees, Darius Nelson performed a musical selection. Ellen R. Perry Livas (BTW/1961) was introduced by 1961 classmate Kathleen Edwards. Cabaret-jazz vocalist “Becky” Livas has been sharing her beautiful voice with audiences for almost 25 years (that does not include school days) with songs from Tin Pan Alley to the late 20th century.

Before beginning her famed singing career with several artists including pianist Keith Nesbit and saxophonist Joey Placenti, she was the first African-American woman news reporter and later host of and producer of daily TV shows at WTAR-TV in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, Livas created and was host of WHRO-WHRV-FM Jazz Excursions. She also taught world history and geography in a middle school.

The last honorees were presented posthumously. They were Aline Black Hicks, Willie Mae Watson, Celestyne Diggs Porter and David Gilbert Jacox.

Honoree Aline Black Hicks taught chemistry at Booker T from the days of the Great Depression to the “Jim Crow” era through the civil rights movement.

In March 1939, Hicks fought for equal pay for equal work for African-American teachers. The plaintiff suit was filed by Thurgood Marshall. She was fired in retaliation in June 1939.
After her appeal was denied, a suit was filed under the name of Melvin Alston, and was settled by the United States Supreme Court in her favor. Significantly, Aline Hicks was rehired.

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Honoree Willie Mae Watson, a Norfolk native, was an educator and humanitarian. After having taught in one room schools, Virginia State College, and adult education at Piedmont Sanatorium in Burkeville, Virginia, she taught at two elementary schools in Norfolk – Douglass Park and Liberty Park.

Watson was also a “teaching-principal” at J H Smythe School and later became principal at Titustown and Diggs Park. In 1957, the Norfolk School Board named her Supervisor of Colored Elementary Schools.

She also served in the Peace Corps and became, in 1963, the Director of Elementary Education for the Free School Association for Prince Edward County, Va.

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Honoree Celestine Diggs Porter was the first Black Social Studies Coordinator in Norfolk. After 40 years of service to the Norfolk Public School System, Porter spent 25 years at Old Dominion University. Her first teaching assignment was in a one room school house in Lenexa (near Williamsburg).

Porter began teaching at Booker T. in 1933 and has been considered a trailblazer who “cared for and nurtured her students to reach their full potential.”

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The last educator to be honored was David Gilbert Jacox for whom D. G. Jacox Elementary School is named (formerly D. G. Jacox Junior High School). In addition to being an educator, Jacox was a minister, humanitarian and founder of Booker T. Washington High School.

Because of his vision and request, the John T. West School in 1914 was recognized by the Virginia State Board of Education, as “the first accredited high school for Negroes or Colored people in Virginia.”

In 1917, the high school was relocated from John T. West to Norfolk Mission School and renamed Booker T. Washington High School.

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Those of us who came through the Norfolk Public School System, during the days of segregation, especially Booker T. Washington High School which was fondly called “THE FACTORY,” are extremely grateful for the compassion, commitment and dedication that our teachers bestowed upon us.

They prepared us to be critical thinkers and for excellence. They would not allow us to be victims of what is called a “Crisis in Black Education.”

Thank each one of you that taught us.

The Chesapeake-Virginia Beach Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta celebrated Founders Day in grand style. They started their fun-filled weekend enjoying each other’s company by dining at the Aberdeen Barn Steakhouse in Virginia Beach. On Saturday, approximately 156 Deltas and their guests attended a private showing of the acclaimed movie “Hidden Figures.” Dr. Anna-Maria McGowan, Technical Fellow at NASA, who serves as NASA’s Senior Engineer for Complex Systems Design, prior to the viewing of the movie gave a brief inspirational message to the group and talked about what sparked/peaked her interest in math and science.

Hopefully, women and men will take their children, especially their daughters, to see this wonderful movie, based on our history that has never been told! Glory to those three powerful women who broke down barriers at NASA located in Hampton Roads on the Peninsula. One of the three women, Mrs. Johnson (98 years of age), is still living.

Along with other Deltas from throughout the state, Founders Day concluded with a statewide gathering of sorors in Richmond. This was a time to meet and greet new Deltas and to look forward to seeing sisters from yesteryear.

Mrs. Evelyn Vera Fields Williams, a Norfolk native reared in the Berkley section, was born 100 years ago in 1917. What a blessing to her family and the community!!! Not only is Mrs. Evelyn Williams still glamorous and stately, she is still mobile and as my mother would say “CLOTHED IN HER RIGHT MIND.” A lovely inspirational brunch, in honor of this “spiffy” lady with many of her family, friends and church members in attendance, was held at the Chesapeake Marriott Hotel.

Dr. Catherine Williams, cousin of the honoree, was Mistress of Ceremony for this grand celebration. The Welcome and Invocation were done by Rev. Yvonn M. Hardy, Pastor of Mrs. Williams home Church – New Central Baptist Church. This was followed by a stirring solo sung by granddaughter Rev. Sabrina Williams. Ms. Alisa Hardy, director/choreographer and Mrs. Jada Mackey-Wells, assistant director/choreographer did an outstanding job with the Action Ministry Praise Dancers. This youth group from New Central featured Alana Hardy, Bless Mack, JaCory Page, Italy Taylor, Kasey Turner and Anthony Wells and a little girl who was 2 or 3 years of age performing magnificently. Following the Blessing. A delicious brunch was served. Prior to cutting of the birthday cake, the audience clapped, sang and swayed to Stevie Wonder’s version of “Happy Birthday.” The liveliness and jubilation during the singing set the tone for the remainder of the happy occasion.

Lighthearted tributes and reflections were given by Senator Lionel Spruill, Virginia State Senate/District 5; Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff who also read a Proclamation from the city of Chesapeake; Mayor Kenneth Alexander of Norfolk; and Dr. William Ward former mayor of Chesapeake. Dr. Rose Ward, family friend; Berkley Community Historian Mrs. Anne Boone; First Lady of New Central Baptist Church, Mrs. Pamela Battle-Hardy; and Dr. Shirley Winstead, life-long friend gave reflections. Other tributes came from Ms. Priscilla Scott-Thomas, President, Norfolk Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Mrs. Joyce Colden, President and Dr. Lucy Wilson, Chesapeake/Virginia Beach Chapter Links, Inc.; Ms. Priscilla Tennyson, President Chesapeake Women’s Club; Mrs. Carmelita Williams, President and Mrs. Perdethia Lowery, The Holidays; Mrs. Evelyn West, President and Mrs. Denise Lipscomb, Chesapeake CHUMS; and the 100 Black Women’s representative and family friend Mrs. June Banks. The Programme Tributes and Reflections ended with remarks from Ms. Carole Jenkins a cousin; and a birthday toast by grandson Elder Anthony Williams. This was followed by beautiful reflective remarks and a glorious tribute by daughter Mrs. Sylvia Butler and a love token presentation by great granddaughter Jordyn Butler.

This Jubilant Celebration was planned by Rev. Yvonn Hardy, Ms. Joyce Colden, Mrs. Carolyn Copeland, Dr. Rose Ward, Mrs. Denise Lipscomb and Mrs. Sylvia Butler. Mrs. Pamela Battle-Hardy was responsible for the beautifully decorated head table; and Mr. Robbie Savage and Mrs. Carolyn Copeland did a splendid decorating job of the gift table. The gorgeous invitations were done by Ms. Junelle Banks. The host and hostesses were as follows: Mrs. Shanta Fields, Chair, Mrs. Colette Springs, Ms. Shannon Harrison, Mr. Keonte Martin, Ms. Sheila Fields, Mr. James Greene, Ms. Lakendra Hunter, Ms. Vestia Simmons and Mr. Larry Martin. Songs played by the D. J., was very appropriate for the age groups present. Mr. Frankie Davis and The Mighty Stars sang songs that had the audience singing along with many of the tunes.

Mrs. Evelyn Vera Fields Williams was extremely gracious in her closing remarks giving thanks to all who came to help celebrate her wonderful life. As stated by Mrs. Williams, “I thank my family and friends, from far and near, for your presence, thoughtfulness, time and generosity. I deeply appreciate all that you did to make my 100th birthday a blessing. I will always cherish and remember this day. God bless all of you.”

As 2016 was coming to a close, the 6th floor in the Slover Library was the venue where Friends from Booker T. Washington High School Class of 1966 celebrated 50 years of friendship. Delicious hot hors d’oeuvres were served throughout the night at this wonderful affair while friends enjoyed the theme of this celebration – having fun and enjoying being together.

Persons participating in this celebration traveled from South Carolina; North Carolina; Connecticut; Maryland; New York City; Northern Virginia; Washington, D. C.; and California. These friends and their guests engaged in “Old School” music and dancing and some line dancing to sounds provided by “D J Grell.” Donn Scott chaired the committee that pulled these friends together for an evening of holiday fun. Other members of the host group consisted by Margie Davis Scott, Andrea Southall, Michael Jordan, Alfonso Carney, Paul Riddick, Leo Williams, Jr. and Edwin Shirley.

Special acknowledgement was given to guest Donald and Beverly Wood Brown who were celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary. Kudos were also given to Edwin and Patricia Clay Shirley who celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary during the Christmas holiday. Since this was an evening of enjoyment, an informal intermission was done with Al Carney and Edwin Shirley making some candid and funny remarks concerning the friendships of the group through the years. Cecelia Taliaferro Tucker a former “special” teacher was recognized. Leo Williams, Sr. a former Norfolk school teacher and principal; and Malcolm “Zeke” Avery former Booker T. teacher, basketball coach/athletic director and assistant principal were also in attendance.
Although their lives have taken them in difference professional directions and geographic locales, it is wonderful to see people who can bond and remain good friends for 50 years.

Always keep that circle of friendship together!!!

The Concerned Friends of Booker T. Washington High School sponsored a fundraiser to celebrate the HISTORIC BOOKER T. WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL which had its beginning at JOHN T. WEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL beginning in 1911. According to historic records, in May 1914, the state board of education endorsed having a high school and the local board of education passed an act giving Virginia its first accredited public high school for Negroes. Because of the increased growth in the number of students attending the high school, a new site was officially opened in 1917 and it became known as BOOKER T. WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL. In 1924, a new building opened with Winston Douglas at the helm. During this time, “THE FACTORY” as it was affectionately called by the students, was also known as the “FIGHTING BOOKERS,” and the “MIGHTY BOOKER T.,” was making its name known throughout the state – ACADEMICALLY, ATHLETICALLY and MUSICALLY.

In addition to the overview of the history of our beloved BOOKER T. by Jessica Harvey who represented the Multi-Cultural Committee, the audience was entertained by Jalen Smith, a Booker T. student, who opened the concert with a gospel solo. Regina Mobley, WVEC TV news anchor, was the hostess extraordinaire for this affair. During intermission, two former teachers – MRS. VIVIAN WEST and MR. SAMUEL L. ROUNTREE – were acknowledged for their contributions to the education of the students at Booker T. Washington High School.

A most appreciative audience enjoyed an evening of wonderful soulful music performed by Booker T. “alums” CONNIE PARKER with her melodious mellow voice, and VINCE PREISTER and his sweet saxophone sound; and the Now and Then Trio. The concert goers were treated to a special guest artist Brenda Liverman who wowed the audience with her rendition of “Memories.” Connie had all of us on the edge of seats and wanting more as she sang “The Day I Stopped Loving You … The Day you Stopped Loving Me Is the Saddest.” The audience was treated to other familiar songs including “Drink Muddy Water;” and Vince’s signature piece, which was beyond outstanding, “If You Don’t Know Me.”


Special thanks, was listed on the program, to Dan Ryan’s, Stark and Legum, Ray Patel, Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing and Gethsemane Church.

By Ola Goss

Stephanie L. Sutton, daughter of Dr. Alveta J. Green and Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Ronald Sutton and Joseph R. Walters, son of Mr. and Mrs. Delvin Walters of Prince George, Maryland wed in a beautiful setting in the Chrysler Museum of Art, located in downtown Norfolk, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Sweet Tea Restaurant, in downtown Norfolk, was the venue for the after rehearsal dinner for these Hampton University graduates.

Following the seating of the grandmothers of the bride, the grandparents of the groom, and the parents of the bride and groom, Mrs. Alveta V. Green, grandmother and the late Walter H. Green, Sr. (grandfather) of Norfolk, escorted by Walter H. Green, Jr./uncle of the bride and Mrs. Beulah Sutton, grandmother and the late William Sutton (grandfather) of Chesapeake, escorted by Rev. James E. Sutton/uncle of the bride; and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lucas grandparents of the groom from Queens, New York, and prior to the entrance of the wedding party a love story video, produced by the couples’ Redelynn Group started the ceremony. The wedding ceremony was officiated by, Rev. Joyce Rose Scott, the Senior Pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.

The wedding party consisted of two Maids of Honor, Dr. Adrian Sutton, cousin of the bride and a friend of the bride Mrs. Candice Reid; Bride Maids included Ms. Ida Andarge and Dr. Courtney Hudson Hinton friends of the bride; and the bride’s cousins Mrs. Sheron Sutton Collins and Dr. Ashley Sutton Tilahun. Mr. Courtney Walters was his brother’s Best Man. Friends of Joseph served as his Groomsmen. They were Mr. Brandon Coney, Dr. David Green, Mr. Marvin Jones, Jr., Mr. Joseph McQueen and Mr. Darryl Scott, Jr. The Ushers were Mr. Matthew Dawley and Mr. Elijah Wilson; and the two Hostesses were Ms. Shene’ Owens and Ms. Tasha Turnbull. After the entrance of the Groom, the Bride was escorted down the aisle by her father. After the exchange of vows and rings and before the pronouncement of marriage and the presentation of the newly married couple – MR. and MRS. JOSEPH R. WALTERS – Holy Communion was served and the Lord’s Prayer prayed.

A cocktail hour began at 7 p.m. in the first floor galleries followed by a sit down dinner in the main lobby; cake cutting and toasts; party time with music by DJ Precise; and a farewell to the couple at 12:30 a.m.

The bride was given two bridal showers. A miscellaneous shower given by Benita Morris at Gilfield Baptist Church Hall in Petersburg; and a cocktail shower hosted by Judges Jerrauld and Lynn Simmons Jones.

Out of town guests were from Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Brooklyn and Queens, New York, New Jersey; Chester, Richmond, Petersburg and Northern Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; Dover, Delaware; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D. C.

A big thank you to the wedding planner, Apryl Roberts of Memorable Events.

Ola GossThe Norfolk State University Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Carl W. Haywood and accompanied by Terry W. Butler, performed, a free open to the public, magnificent concert to a receptive and warm audience. They began their performance with Handel’s “Zadok The Priest” (Coronation Anthem No. 1). This was followed by “Exsultate Deo” (Sung in Latin) and “Greater Love Hath No Man” by John Ireland with soloists Terri Douglas/soprano and baritone singer Sharod Smithen. Part I of the concert ended with an outstanding rendition of Gilbert Martin’s “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

Prior to intermission, where donations were made to the Concert Choir’s Scholarship Fund, songs written by African-American composers were sung. They sang “The Clothes of Heaven” by Adolphus Hailstork (Old Dominion University); a composition “Sing and Rejoice” by Willis James (Morehouse and Spelman/1940s); and “As By The Streams of Babylon” arranged by R. Nathaniel Dett (Hampton University/1930s and 1940s). Then there was the wonderful performance of “On This Day” with tenor soloist Gerell Traynum by Lewis/trans. Carl W. Haywood.

Greetings My Brothers and Sisters, Love One Another/”Sorida” (a Zimbabwe Greeting) opened PART IV. During this segment, tenor Johnnie Watkins was magnificent with the singing of a “Russian Picnic” by Harvey Enders.

PART V of the concert consisted of songs by famed and noted African-American composers Noah F. Ryder (conducted at Norfolk State and Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church); John W. Work (formerly of Fisk University); and Moses Hagans (former director of the Moses Hagan Chorale). The choir sang “My Lord Is So High” arranged by Ryder and superbly sung with a duet by soprano Layla Dixon and tenor Nicholas Estelow; “Lord, I’m Out Here On Your Word” arranged by Work and sung very reverently and sweetly by tenor Johnnie Watkins; and “I Can Tell The World” arranged by Hogan.

The performance ended, as usual, with a gospel song conducted by a student. “It Ain’t Over” by Maurette Brown Clark was conducted by Gerell Traynum an d featured the beautiful voice of soprano Starlet Windham.

To hear other wonderful concerts featuring this outstanding choir consisting of extraordinarily talented young people who “SING with Beauty, Devotion, Expression, and Refinement,” prior to the retirement of Dr. Carl W. Haywood, go to to get the schedule for their remaining performances.

This choir is a must hear and see!!! Please come out and support the arts!!!