SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The celebration of black history month in town continues to roll on. This past Sunday, the Springfield Public Library hosted a two part program in conjunction with the Antioch Baptist Church to commemorate black history and the story of jazz during the Harlem Renaissance.
The first portion of the program, hosted by the baptist church featured presentations on black history in Jamaica and Nigeria as well as reports on contemporary figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. There was also a parade of fashions meant to show what clothing looked like on the African subcontinent.
At the conclusion of the presentation by the church, attendees were led in a rendition of 'Lift Every Voice and Sing,' a song often referred to as the black national anthem. For Milton Hobbs, the Pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church, seeing his congregants mingling and learning with town residents was fantastic.
"I think this was a great tribute to black history month," Hobbs said. "But even a better tribute if you will to the springfield community and the library opening their doors to the church and allowing us to be here with our neighbors and friends."
For the final event of the afternoon, the New Jersey Jazz Society came back to the library for the second time in a few weeks. The musicians performed a medley of songs from the time period of the Harlem Renaissance.
the group consists of vocalist Carrie Jackson, Radam Schwartz on keyboard, Gene Ghee on saxiphone, flute and clarinet, Takashi Otsuka on the bass and Errold Lanier Jr. on the drums. over the course of their afternoon, they played songs and taught the audience about variations in rhythm and tempo.
"This is America's art form, and America's art form can not be discussed without it being dealt with at it's roots," Halpin said. "At it roots, it was created by African-Americans, so to be a part of black history month makes a very large impact to the ture treasure that jazz is."
Added Halpin, "there's something for everyone in jazz."