January 21, 2020



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The Friends of the Plainfield Public Library (FOPPL) will sponsor their annual Black History Program on Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 10:00 AM until 12:30 PM in the lower level of the Plainfield Public Library, 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield.  This event is open and free to the public.  Light refreshments will be served at the end of the event.

The program will feature opera singer, Arcia Marie Stokes.  Ms. Stokes received a Master’s degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy, as well as Bachelor’s degree in Music from Westminister Choir College of Rider University.  She is a dynamic vocalist who is well versed in all genres of classical, gospel and R&B music.  Some of her recent successes include a chorister role in Porgy and Bess for the Spoleto Music Festival. She has sung at the Metropolitan Opera house alongside Kathleen Battle, where she debuted a solo part in the chorus. Ms. Stokes has since traveled with Ms. Battle, and has performed in various venues.  Currently, she is Music Educator at Kipp Charter School in Newark, NJ.

The Black History Program will also feature Jazz Pianist, James Austin, Jr.  Mr. Austin is originally from Chicago and is a noted jazz artist and bandleader.  He honed his craft under the tutelage of a number of legendary musicians, including extensive study under renowned Billy Harris.  He has received numerous awards and accolades, including being selected as a semi-finalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.  “Songs In the Key of Wonder” is James’ debut album showcasing his arrangements of Steve Wonder classic compositions.  James regards Stevie Wonder as the greatest composer of our time.  We look forward to hearing the arrangements of Steve Wonder through James Austin.

Lastly, the Friends will feature members from the New Jersey Orators.  They have performed for FOPPL in the past and the venue allows these students an avenue to deliver original and compositions from noted authors.

This year’s program is sponsored in part by the Plainfield Cultural and Heritage Commission. 

Friends of the Plainfield Public Library (FOPPL) is a 501.c.3 organization and contributions are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

Contact number: 908-514-9478.