God’s Trombones production to feature local clergy

The John McLinn Ross Players at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) will present God’s Trombones by James Weldon Johnson Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm nightly. Adapted and directed by Angela Griffith-Newkirk, the event will be held in the J.M. Ross auditorium of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts building.

God’s Trombones is one of James Weldon Johnson’s most celebrated works. The inspirational sermons of African-American preachers will take center stage each night while poetry and prominent preachers combined with the musicality and creative use of liturgical dance and singing will impact the evening.  Johnson was a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance and he explained the title’s use of the trombone. He likened the vocal and rhetorical qualities of a preacher he had recently heard who, he felt, exemplified the compelling and persuasive nature of the folk preacher, naming the trombone as “the instrument possessing above all others the power to express the wide and varied range of emotions encompassed by the human voice — and with greater amplitude. He also cited a dictionary definition that noted the trombone as being the brass instrument most resembling the range and sound of the human voice.

The seven poems were composed primarily in 1926, with “Go Down, Death” being composed in the space of a single afternoon on Thanksgiving Day, 1926, and the remaining five poems during a two-week retreat; “The Creation,” the first poem of the set, had been composed about 1919.

The cast is comprised of local ministers which include: Rev. Glenn Barnes, pastor of Pine Hill Missionary Baptist church; Rev. David Featherstone, Pastor of Greater Second Baptist Church in Little Rock; Maron V. King Pastor of Destiny Church in Maumelle. Other profound cast members include Senator Hank Wilkins, Pastor of Saint James United Methodist Church; Tarvoris Uzoigwe, Director of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry; Dr. Thomas Wilder, Sr. Pastor of the Historical Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL; Dr. Phillip L. Pointer, Sr. Pastor of the Saint Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock; Rev. Anthony Newkirk, of Saint Mark in Little Rock; Rodney Harris of Barraque Street Baptist Church in Pine Bluff; Mark Jones of Pine Hill Baptist Church and Minister Vincentia Simmons.

Tickets are $10 for adults and five dollars for children and students. For tickets or information, call (870) 575-8428 or email newkirka@uapb.edu.

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