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New Songs - Open Road

New Songs Open Road

Wisdom is not finally tested in schools, Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof                                                                                                                                                             Walt Whitman

 

New Songs Of The Open Road - Schedule Of Events:

 

    1.    Saturday, May 18th - 3pm / Fairmount Park - North Philly

    Location: Mander Recreation Center & Around East Park Reservoir
    Start: Mander Recreation Center - 140 N 33rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19121
    Destination: Mander Recreation Center - 140 N 33rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19121    

 

    2.    Saturday, June 8th - 3pm / Germantown

    Location: Joseph E. Coleman Library to Cliveden
    Start: Joseph E. Coleman Library -  68 W Chelten Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144
    Destination: Cliveden - 6401 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144    

 

   3.    Saturday, June 22nd - 4pm / South Philly

    Location: Marconi Plaza To Whitman Plaza
    Start: Marconi Plaza -  2800 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19145
    Destination: Whitman Plaza - 330 W Oregon Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

 

    4.    Saturday, July 6th - 4pm / The Parkway

    Location: Parkway Central Library To Boat House Row
    Start: Parkway Central Library -  1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    Destination: Boat House Row - 1 Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, PA 19130

 

*Be prepared for a vigorous walk in warm to hot weather during the middle of the day. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Bring a hat to cover your head and if necessary, bring sunglasses as well. Be sure to drink water and we will have additional water on site.

 

In celebration of poet Walt Whitman's 200th birthday, artist/curator and director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project, Homer Jackson presents New Songs Of The Open Road: a special project consisting of a series of four “singing” walks which take place in different neighborhoods of Philadelphia. As Whitman was an avid walker/hiker, Jackson and his team will facilitate four audience participation events that consist of singing walkers. These walks will take place in different locations and communities in Philadelphia including North Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, Center City and Germantown. These walks are simulataneously influenced by Whitman's poem,"Songs of the Open Road" and inspired by civil rights movement freedom songs. Featuring choir members and additional vocalists, these walks encourage the public to join in walking and singing songs of affirmation.

 

Walt Whitman 1

About Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (1819–1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is a colossal figure in American literature and art. Recognized internationally as the first major exponent of free verse, he has been called America's "poet of democracy.” Whitman's lifestyle was adopted by the Beat movement and its leaders such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in the 1950s and 1960s as well as anti-war poets like Adrienne Rich and Gary Snyder. It is through these figures that his influence carries on into the 1970s.

 

With his personal and progressive approach to many ideas, Whitman was considered by many to be America's first hippie. It was an attitude about life, living and how one should best do it that was his gift to America. His poem, Songs of the Open Road is part of the inspiration for many people taking to the road and exploring new possibilities for their lives, particularly in the West. The popularity of Route 66 as both the physical and spiritual route for change in the 1960s and 70s draws inspiration from this work. That said, Walt Whitman was indeed a 19th century man and brought with him all of the triumphs and challenges, strengths and weaknesses of 19th century men. Race, Slavery, Rights of Native Americans and other issues were visable areas of vunerablity for him and he shared many the common views on these issues as most White men of his time. That said, his influence continues.

 

Walt Whitman 2

Whitman at 200

Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday on Friday, May 31st, 2019 provides an important opportunity to reassess his estimable contributions to American life at a time when our country is so polarized. Organized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries Kislak Center with major support from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, this region-wide series of cultural events consists of four new artistic commissions plus a multitude of innovative exhibitions, performances, and programs initiated in conjunction with partner organizations across the Philadelphia and Camden, NJ region. While events take place all year, there is a focus on the two-week period, between May 24 and June 9, 2019, around Whitman's birthday.  

 

About The Songs
Music is an important aspect of our lives. For the Civil Rights Movement, during the 1950s through the 1970s, music provided both a soundtrack as well as a motivating, inspirational force that helped the marchers to get ready and to face uncertainty. This music wasn’t piped in on loudspeakers. No. It came from their own mouths. It came from their own bodies. Honoring that spirit, New Songs Of The Open Road presents new and reworked songs inspired by Walt Whitman’s poetry and fueled by the Civil Rights Movement's musical tenacity. These songs are written and arranged by vocalist/songwriter Toby VEnT Martin, choirmaster and composer, Waverly Alston and vocalist/songwriter James Solomon.

 

For More Information: Whitman At 200

 

New Songs Of The Open Road is special project designed by artist/curator and director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project, Homer Jackson, as part of Whitman At 200 - the celebration of Walt Whitman’s 200th Birthday hosted by University of Pennsylvania Libraries Kislak Center. Our project consists of a series of four “singing” walks which take place in different neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

 

Led by choirmaster, Waverly Alston and key songwriter vocalists, Toby VEnT Martin, James Solomon and V. Shayne Frederick, these walks involve choirs of walkers, which include the general public. These events are influenced by Whitman’s poem, “Song of the Open Road,” which contemplates the possibilities of American freedom and are inspired by the civil rights movement protest marchers who tested the realities of freedom by taking them to the streets. These events are FREE of charge and we openly encourage all and any to participate by walking and singing with us.

 

New Songs Of The Open Road - Schedule Of Events:

 

    1.    Saturday, May 18th - 3pm / Fairmount Park - North Philly

    Location: Mander Recreation Center & Around East Park Reservoir
    Start: Mander Recreation Center - 140 N 33rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19121
    Destination: Mander Recreation Center - 140 N 33rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19121    

 

    2.    Saturday, June 8th - 3pm / Germantown

    Location: Joseph E. Coleman Library to Cliveden
    Start: Joseph E. Coleman Library -  68 W Chelten Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144
    Destination: Cliveden - 6401 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144    

 

   3.    Saturday, June 22nd - 4pm / South Philly

    Location: Marconi Plaza To Whitman Plaza
    Start: Marconi Plaza -  2800 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19145
    Destination: Whitman Plaza - 330 W Oregon Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

 

    4.    Saturday, July 6th - 4pm / The Parkway

    Location: Parkway Central Library To Boat House Row
    Start: Parkway Central Library -  1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    Destination: Boat House Row - 1 Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, PA 19130

 

*Be prepared for a vigorous walk in warm to hot weather during the middle of the day. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Bring a hat to cover your head and if necessary, bring sunglasses as well. Be sure to drink water and we will have additional water on site.


 

THE CREATIVE TEAM:

 

Waverly Alston Waverly Alston, Jr. is a singer, songwriter, composer, band leader and choirmaster who has given his life to engaging in music ministry for over 20 years. In 1999, he formed “Waverly Alston In The Company of Friends” (WAITCF) to establish a touring vocal ensemble with a message. WAITCF has performed at The Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, Berks Jazz Festival, West Oak Lane Jazz Festival, Clear Channel Broadcasting, and numerous churches and venues along the east coast. In addition to working with his ensemble, Waverly Alston has dedicated himself to providing workshops for male engagement and gospel music, redirecting urban males to find alternatives to negative paths through self-awareness and healing. Alston serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Valley Forge and is currently working on projects for the Kimmel Center and the Philadelphia Jazz Project. He is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling.

 

 

 

Remedy - V Shayne Frederick V. Shayne Frederick is a pianist and vocalist. He began his formal musical study at Dartmouth College, and later, in a Jazz ensemble in Philadelphia led by legendary organist, Trudy Pitts. His craft has been honed at a multitude of local venues including, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, SugarHouse Casino, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Resorts Casino, Society Hill Playhouse, Clef Club, African-American Museum in Philadelphia and others.  Frederick has a melodic classic sound with a contemporary and creative personal touch. At his day gig, V. Shayne Frederick has been working in healthcare administration, staffing, and recruiting for over a decade -- and also moonlighting as a hard working Jazz vocalist, pianist, and curator for just as long. In both settings, the human connection has been his lifeblood.

 

                                                                                                 

 

Homer JacksonHomer Jackson is an interdisciplinary artist. As a young art student, jazz nurtured Jackson’s creativity. In 1980, Temple University’s jazz radio station WRTI recruited Jackson to host a weekly radio program. Jackson has created performances in collaboration with artists such as the late AACM violinist, Leroy Jenkins, Twin Cities-based instrument maker and former AACM president, Douglas Ewart, as well as the Philly-based hip-hop band, The Roots. He has exhibited and performed works at spaces such as Philagraphika, Painted Bride Arts Center, and ICA/Philadelphia. Jackson has received grants for his work from various funders including the Pew Charitable Trusts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Homer Jackson is the director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project and the executive producer of the Remedy Project Mixtapes.

 

 

 

 

tobymartinToby VEnT Martin is the lead singer and lyricist of VEnT, an alternative rock/soul band from Philadelphia. While VEnT has many great influences, their sound is unparallel to anything the industry has heard. VEnT fuses Soul with Alternative Rock, while dabbling in acoustic rock, jazz, funk, contemporary christian, R&B, soft rock, gospel and  other genres. VEnT has opened for artists such as Marsha Ambrosius, Syleena Johnson and Monifah and has sharied the stage with other great performers. VEnT currently has three albums: Out the Box (2010), Beautifully Broken (2011), and Just Leftovers (2012). VEnT has performed at many venues in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware, as well as numerous venues in Connecticut, Chicago and New York.

 

 

 

Remedy - James SolomonJames Solomon is a Philadelphia songwriter who began his career in the mid 1960’s working with singer Eddie Holman. In 2017, he collaborated with Alfie Pollitt and Walter Sorey to create the Juneteenth song, “No Longer Bound.” Solomon has contributed songs to several Philadelphia Jazz Project productions including The Philly Song Book, Love Notes, Feathers, Celebrating Ted Curson & Bill Barron and more recently The John Henry-Sounds Of Progress Suite. James Solomon worked for 20 years as a Claims Representative for the Social Security Administration. As a Claims Representative he took several disability claims daily and learned first hand through extensive interviews how wide spread and debilitating any number of illnesses can be. James Solomon is a co-producer of the Remedy Project Mixtapes.

 

 

 

 

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Major support for Whitman At 200 artistic commissions has been provided to University of Pennsylvania Libraries by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

 

Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.

 

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.