‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ set for Dec. 18

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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AHOSKIE – Friends of Main, who throughout the year have sponsored themed festivals at No Man’s Land Park in downtown Ahoskie, is hosting a 12 noon concert on Saturday, Dec. 18 at the Gallery Theatre.

The concert – “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” – features Naomi Floyd accompanied by Aaron Graves.

A vocalist and composer, Floyd has been at the forefront of creating vocal jazz settings that express faith and justice for over 25 years. She leads her own multifaceted ensemble and her discography consist primarily of original compositions.

She has served as Director of Jazz Studies at Cairn University, Langhorne, PA, and is an Artist in Residence at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. She taught music for 20 years at The City School in Philadelphia.

Her recent compositions include “Freedom” which premiered in April 2018 in Wales, United Kingdom.

Floyd was awarded the Kimmel Center’s Jazz Residency for the 2019-2020 season. In December 2019, Concordia College-New York awarded Lloyd an Honorary Doctorate for her unique and valuable contribution to the arts, her commitment to music education, and her justice work.

Raised in Reidsville, NC, Graves learned to play various instruments, including piano, bass, organ, and drums, in the church where his father, a great musician with a musical family, was the senior pastor.

Graves eventually moved to Washington, D.C. at the age of 16 to play bass guitar with the acclaimed gospel music legend, Richard Smallwood, and attended The Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. This is where he began sharing the art form that some call jazz music.

After touring with various artists that included Smallwood, Myrna Summers, The Voices Supreme, and Henry Davis, Graves entered Howard University and received a Special Talent Scholarship. After two years he transferred to the University of the District of Columbia to study with Jazz Master Calvin Jones. While studying at UDC, Graves auditioned for a National Endowment of the Arts grant, was accepted, and studied with Jazz Master Kenny Barron. He has also studied with Jazz Masters Barry Harris and Stanley Cowell.

His television credits are the award-winning documentary “Eyes on the Prize with Sweet Honey and the Rock”, The Bill Cosby Show, The Lou Rawls Show, Good Morning Australia, Japan Airlines, Conjurers: Women in Jazz with Cassandra Wilson; and the theme for the Carol Randolph Show.

He performed on the soundtrack for the movie “Ashes and Embers” by independent filmmaker Haile Gerima; was the conductor on Broadway for “Truly Blessed” about the life of Mahalia Jackson; was the conductor for “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill; and was the conductor for “Essentially Ellington” at The Prince Theatre in Philadelphia. He has also performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

The public is welcomed to attend the concert. Due to the ongoing issues with COVID-19, masks and proof of vaccination are required.