Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Black theater celebrated



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Remember dances called the cake walk and jitterbug? Those are dances that identify the Swing Era, the 1920s, '30s and into the '40s.

Of course the dance steps moved on into the modern era with different rhythmic variations; for instance, watch closely and you can see a few cake walk steps in the popular electric slide dance.

The memory of those dances, that era and the culture, art and history from Africa to African-American will be relived at the 30th Anniversary Gala of the Art Consortium, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday at 1515 Linn St., West End.

The gala will include a performance by the Cincinnati Black Theater Company, directed by Donald Sherman.

"It will be a tribute to black theater music," Mr. Sherman said. "You will hear such songs as `Take the A Train,' `Hallelujah Baby,' `Hot Chocolate,' `Ain't Misbehaving,' `Sentimental Mood' and many others that identify black theater music and black music in a time period."

Mr. Sherman said his theater group will perform parts of many songs that were used in such movies and plays as A Raisin in the Sun, Bubbling Brown Suga and Black Nativity. Mr. Sherman's theater company will also give a two-hour performance at the consortium Oct. 24.

The gala will also feature other tidbits of black history, such as a representation of how people used to run numbers in Harlem.

"We will give out prizes, periodically, based on the numbers during the celebration," said Sharon Harding, director of the consortium.

"I think it is a testament that we are celebrating our 30th anniversary," Ms Harding said. "We are one of the oldest community art centers in the country. Our mission is to celebrate, advance and preserve African and African-American culture and achievement through art, education and history."

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The rich educational history of the site of Aiken High School, 5641 Belmont Ave., College Hill, was placed in bricks last Saturday in the Aiken Aerie brick paver memorial area. The history began with the opening of Farmers College in 1846. It was the site of the Ohio Military Institute from 1890 to 1958.

Aiken High School was opened in 1962.

Speakers at the event included local historian Dan Hurley and Jennifer E. Capps, curator of the Benjamin Harrison Museum. Benjamin Harrison attended Farmers College from 1848 to 1850.The project was led by Steve Weidner, Class of 1970.

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The Hubert Co. of Harrison, Ohio, is the corporate sponsor of Harrison's Habitat for Humanity chapter.

The chapter is working on two houses in Harrison, to be completed in January 2003.

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Residents of Arden Courts of Kenwood will be teamed with the little children from Reach Child Care Developmental Preschool for a Halloween party at 10 a.m. Oct. 31.

Allen Howard's "Some Good News" column runs Sunday-Friday. If you have suggestions about outstanding achievements, or people who are uplifting to the Tristate, let him know at 768-8362, at ahoward@enquirer.com or by fax at 768-8340.



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