Harlem Welcomes The 369th EXPERIENCE FOR MEMORIAL Weekend Concert
Harlem One Stop today announced a free special Memorial Day Weekend concert by The 369th Experience in celebration of the Harlem Renaissance Centennial and the Harlem Hell Fighters. The ensemble will perform a program of music by ragtime and early jazz bandleader James Reese Europe. The free outdoor performance will be presented from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 25 at Marcus Garvey Park (Mt. Morris Park West between East 120th-124th Streets) in Harlem.
Created to honor and preserve the memory of World War I-era African American and Puerto Rican service members, The 369th Experience program recreates performances by its namesake regimental band. The original musicians were drawn from the 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as the Harlem Hell Fighters, led by Lieutenant James Reese Europe.
"Prior to his enlistment, Europe made history with his Clef Club Orchestra, which in 1910 became the first act to perform jazz at Carnegie Hall," says Harlem One Stop founder Yuien Chin, who organized the Memorial Day Weekend concert. "During his military service, his 369th Infantry Regiment band played for British, French, and American troops and civilian audiences in France, where these 'Harlem Hell Fighters' also made their first recordings."
Today's band represents students from Benedict College, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Morgan State University, North Carolina Central University, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University A&M College, Texas Southern University, and Texas Tech University. The 369th Experience is a project of The United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library with support from The Coca-Cola Foundation. The band is in New York to participate in a series of events and performances to celebrate Fleet Week.
"The students performing James Reese Europe's works today are carrying a grand legacy of Harlem creativity and patriotism and giving a new generation an opportunity to appreciate the original band's star power and sacrifice," Chin says. "Particularly in connection with Memorial Day, we are honored to have the opportunity to raise awareness of this amazing piece of Harlem's musical and civic history."
Harlem One Stop, a leading uptown destination marketing organization and tour operator, is the originator of the Harlem Renaissance 100 celebration, which is co-presented with Harlem Cultural Collaborative Partners. The Centennial launched in late 2018 and runs through 2020. For a full list of events and the most up-to-date information, visit http://harlemrenaissance.org/.
Born in the aftermath of World War I, the Harlem Renaissance evolved along with the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural south to urban centers. These new communities came to life with the pulse of a jazz, blues, and R&B soundtrack that reinvented popular culture in the U.S. and beyond. And as those rhythms made us hear the world in a new way, the emergence of African American writers transformed the vocabulary of American literature.
Harlem One Stop, a Harlem institution in its own right, is known for its guided walks through West, Central, and East Harlem as well as specialty tours with themes such as Gospel, jazz, and the Harlem Renaissance. Its programs offer visitors and New Yorkers alike an insider's perspective on Harlem's culture, heritage, architecture, and history and an inspiring introduction to Manhattan's uptown neighborhoods.
The 369th Experience is an historic series of national and international programs and musical events depicting the African American and Puerto Rican experience in World War I through the eyes of the 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as the Harlem Hell Fighters. The goal is to honor these soldiers by acknowledging, preserving and celebrating their contributions to the world and to music by recreating the Harlem Hell Fighters Band. Our reenactment band is made up of African American and Puerto Rican male students from HBCUs and other colleges and universities across the United States.
The Harlem Cultural Collaborative Partners include, to date, the Apollo Theater, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, City College Center for the Arts, Columbia University Gov. & Community Affairs, Columbia University Wallach Art Gallery, Councilmember Mark Levine's Office, Echoes of Our Ancestors, Harlem One Stop, Harlem Opera Theater, Harlem Pride, Harlem Shakespeare Festival, Harlem Stage, Hostelling International, Jazzmobile, Manhattan Borough President's Office, Morris-Jumel Mansion, New York Historical Society, Romare Bearden Foundation, Studio Museum of Harlem, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dyckman Farmhouse, Harlem Chamber Players, Harlem Needle Arts, Harlem School of the Arts, i, Too Arts Collective/Langston Hughes House, National Jazz Museum in Harlem, New York African Chorus Ensemble, NYC Parks & Recreation, Summerstage, Revolution Books, Sugar Hill Children's Museum for the Arts & Storytelling, Taste Harlem Tours, The BeBop Channel, Three on 3 Presents, and Wallach Arts Center/Columbia University.
The Harlem Renaissance Centennial Community Celebration is made possible with funding from The West Harlem Development Corporation, Harlem Community Development Corporation, City Council, and the Office of the Manhattan Borough President.
For more information about The 369th Experience, please visit https://www.369experience.com.
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