On Saturday, March 24, 2018, The Tidewater Area Musicians (TAM) showcased some talented youth from our community. First Baptist Church Berkley, in Norfolk, was the venue for an afternoon of free to the public entertainment.
The National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. (NANM) was founded in 1919 in Chicago. Hampton Roads’ own founder of the Park Place Boys Choir (now Boys Choir of Hampton Roads) Geraldine T. Boone is the First National Vice President of The National Association of Negro Musicians. NANM is the oldest organization, in the United States, “dedicated to the preservation, encouragement and advocacy of all genres of African-American music.”
In 1919 NANM’s $5.00 membership fee gave “music teachers and musical performers the chance to compare music knowledge, attend workshops and learn new teaching techniques.” In addition, NANM provided talented students an opportunity to compete for scholarships, meet other young musicians and gain insight from professional musicians. Marian Anderson was the first NANM scholarship recipient.
In 1975, Clarence Ross and other interested local musicians founded the Tidewater Area Musicians (TAM). The other persons included D. Jerlene Harding, who organized and conducted the TAM Youth Orchestra; Geraldine T. Boone, Ianthia V. Uzzle, Jeanette Wallace and John J. Ballou. TAM’s organizational group of noted musicians were Fannie Banks, Daisy Holmes, Dolores Howard, Helen Hunt, Ann McInnis, and Diane Price. Julius E. McCullough, Artistic Director of the Boys Choir of Hampton Roads and the Booker T. Alumni Choir is the current President of the Tidewater Area Musicians Branch.
For this afternoon of music featuring young musical “Stars of Tomorrow,” Dr. Patricia Saunders Nixon was Program Coordinator. Dr. Brynda E. Parker, author/educator, was Mistress of Ceremony. As the Program started, President McCullough made Introductions; and Dr. Dixon welcomed the audience. The Mistress of Ceremonies introduced each of the groups and individuals who performed.
First on the program was the Boys Choir of Hampton Roads. The purpose of this group, other than singing, is “to develop in each singer self-respect, respect for others and learn discipline provided by musical training based on good values, while striving for excellence in academics and cultural personal pursuits.” They have traveled extensively in the United States, performed at the Annual Convention of NANM and with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra; and in a myriad of arenas in Hampton Roads. They sang “Alleluia, The Majesty and Glory of Your Name,” “Make Them Hear You,” “I Am His Child,” and “We’re The Men.”
The Boys Choir was followed by beginning piano students of Margie Bowen Haynes. Jalayna Williams played “Ode to Joy,” and “Page Two.” “Morning Song,” and “Kyleigh’s Song” (Hide and Seek)/Melody and Lyrics by Kyleigh Marin was played by Kyleigh Marin; Ka’Mya Felder played “Merrily We Roll Along;” and “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah” was played by William Freeman with vocal backup by fellow piano players Williams, Marin, Felder and his sister Nicole Freeman. Following a brief intermission, Omar K. Greene, Jr. played “Amazing Grace” on the clarinet; David Whyte, on piano, played “Water Ballet;” and Laila Harris, on piano, played “Swinging Along.”
Rhythmania, a diverse group of homeschooled students, closed out the afternoon of entertainment. This group was founded by Gary Ju Ju Garlic in 2009 as a percussion ensemble at Young Musicians of Virginia, a homeschool co-op in Virginia Beach. Beginning this year, they now feature a vocalist. They have been on Coast Live TV/WTKR Show; and performed at various community events such as YOURS Banquet and Norfolk Libraries concert series. Rhythmania played “Signs of Spring” with vocalist Taylor Woolston; “Patricia;” and “I Am a Warrior” with soloist Woolston and many of in the audience standing and clapping to the beat.
Dr. Patricia Nixon presented awards to three of the young people for outstanding contributions to the organization. Omar K. Greene, Jr. a student at Crittenden Middle School in Newport News; Laila Yvonne Harris a third grade student at Georgetown Elementary School in Chesapeake; and David Whyte (who has perfect pitch) an eleventh grade student at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach. Congratulations to each of them and to the other performers.
For more information about TAM, the concerts that they present, “Stars of Tomorrow,” and the TAM Presents Concert Series” featuring outstanding musicians in recital call (757) 553-7545 or go on line to www.tamnorfolk.org. The musicians and especially the young people could use your support. Please try to follow our youth.
By Ola Goss
Social and Civic Whirl Columnist