Religions and Spirituality

Top Musicians to Perform at Juneteenth Celebration

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Gil Scott Chapman
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Lauren Scales
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Fred Fischer
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Stephen Fuller
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SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The organizers of Community Juneteenth have announced the lineup of performers to appear at a free Juneteenth program to be held at Willow Grove Presbyterian Church on Monday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m.

Well-known vocalist Stephen Fuller will be joined by Fred Fischer on keyboard, guitarist Liz Fischer, and the Plainfield UCC Church Choir. As a lead vocalist, Stephen Fuller has worked with a number of jazz bands and singing groups. Most recently, he formed The Stephen Fuller Quartet.

An accomplished pianist and vocalist, Fred Fischer is a member of the Beacon Hill Jazz Band and the NFL Vocal Jazz Trio. He is the organist and choir director at United Congregational Church in Plainfield. for over 20 years.

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Also performing on keyboard, Gil Scott Chapman, will be accompanied by vocalist Lauren Scales. Chapman is classically trained jazz pianist from Westfield and has also performed in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Lauren Scales has been performing most of her life, recently claiming Second Runner Up in the 2016 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Lauren is currently composing new music with many collaborators, and is busy working on her debut E.P.

Musical interludes will be interspersed by short presentations by students from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School’s Black Student Union and participants in the Y Achievers program.

Free refreshments, participatory art with artist Mansa K. Mussa and games will follow after the program.

Juneteenth is the oldest and the most popular annual national celebration of African American emancipation from slavery. It marks the day, June 19, 1865, when news finally came to Texas that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were now freed, fully two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Community Juneteenth has been proudly supported by a grant to The Friends of Scotch Plains Public Library from Investors Foundation, and by SJM through fund-raising efforts at Mara’s Café and Bakery in Fanwood.

This event is offered to the public as the finale event to the Voices from the Margins: Connecting our Stories grant project awarded to Scotch Plains Public Library, Social Justice Matters, Inc. and the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education (Chhange) at Brookdale Community College.  Voices from the Margins: Connecting our Stories was made possible in part by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Advance registration is recommended. Please register at www.scotlib.org/event/juneteenth/

For more information, contact the Adult Services librarians at Scotch Plains Public Library: library@scotlib.org or (908) 322-5007, x204. Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is located at 1961 Raritan Rd, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076. Overflow parking will be available at Temple Sholom, 1925 Lake Avenue.

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