YOU'RE INVITED TO OUR
VIRTUAL CLUB PARADISE!
Join Akropolis and composer Jeff Scott for an intimate, interactive online concert experience.
Our Virtual Soirée features live performances from Akropolis members, a live interview with composer Jeff Scott, a historical review of Detroit's Paradise Valley neighborhood and musical legacy from "primordial Detroiter" Marsha Music, and the exclusive Web Premiere debut of Homage to Paradise Valley, Jeff Scott's new 25-minute masterwork for reed quintet!
Jeff Scott, Composer
A native of Queens, NY, Jeff Scott started the French horn at age 14, receiving an anonymous gift scholarship to go to the Brooklyn College Preparatory Division. An even greater gift came from his first teacher, Carolyn Clark, who taught the young Mr. Scott for free during his high school years, giving him the opportunity to study music when resources were not available. Mr. Scott's performance credits are many and varied. They include The Lion King orchestra (on Broadway, New York) 1997-2005, and the 1994 revival of Showboat 1994-1997. He has performed numerous times under the direction of Wynton Marsalis with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Mr. Scott is also the french hornist in the internationally acclaimed wind quintet “Imani Winds” and was recently appointed as Associate Professor of Horn at Oberlin College.
Akropolis Reed Quintet
Akropolis reaches more than 5,000 K-12 students annually, including a school year-long residency with students at three Detroit high schools. For 3 years, this residency has ended each June in conjunction with Akropolis' Together We Sound festival, resulting in the us recording and presenting world premieres of 6-10 student compositions, multidisciplinary collaborations, a workplace concert series, and additional elementary educational experiences.
In lieu of being able to physically premiere these student compositions at our festival, we'll be premiering them split-screen style alongside each student composer! Watch the first student composition here.
Photo credit: Gakushi Fujiwara
Marsha Music, daughter of a pre-Motown record producer, grew up in Highland Park and lives in the Palmer Park district of Detroit. She is a self-described Detroitist and writes about the city’s music, its past, present and future. She is a former activist/labor leader and a noted speaker. Her writings on Detroit have been published in important anthologies and periodicals.
She has contributed to significant Detroit narratives, including Untold Tales, Unsung Heroes: An Oral History of Detroit’s African American Community, Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit, as well as documentaries on HBO, PBS, and The History Channel.
Ms. Music has read her poetry with the DSO, and has performed her one woman shows on many Detroit stages. She recently published her first book, The Detroitist.
A $15 ticket provides one device/household access to a soirée. A whole household is welcome to tune in on one device together. We are limiting each soirée to 20 devices total, excluding Akropolis and our team members, to keep the experience intimate and comfortable.
Are you a K-12 student? You and your family are welcome to attend for FREE! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of your student ID and we'll send you an access code to order your free ticket.
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AT THE EVENT
"Club Paradise" references the iconic Paradise Theater in Detroit's Paradise Valley Neighborhood, a predominantly Black neighborhood in Detroit, which, along with the adjacent Black Bottom neighborhood, was razed by freeway projects and other urban renewal in the 1960s. We invite you to this Club Paradise Virtual Soirée so that through music we can share this part of Detroit's history and educate each other about its wide-ranging consequences. The Paradise Theatre, located at 3711 Woodward Ave., was arguably the most important venue during the 1940s for Black musical entertainment in Detroit. It hosted renowned jazz musicians, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington. Currently the home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a rich history in musical tradition.
What's a "Virtual Soirée?"
July 15-19 we're hosting 6 of these intimate, interactive, 60-minute, viewing parties through Zoom video conferencing. All of Akropolis and composer Jeff Scott, with assistance by the extensive research and cataloging of the Detroit Historical Society, will host approximately 20 guests for the event which includes introductions and a chance to meet your fellow worldwide soirée participants; live performances by Akropolis members; a history of the razed Paradise Valley and Black Bottom neighborhoods; a Q&A with the composer; all intertwined with the exclusive Web Premiere debut performance of Jeff Scott's 25-minute master work for reed quintet, Homage to Paradise Valley. This Web Premiere was recorded in the fall of 2019 at Central Michigan University.
We encourage you to make an event of it! Invite friends to the same soirée, dress up, enjoy a homemade refreshment, and log in a few minutes early on the biggest computer screen you have!
We highly encourage you to tune in with headphones or an external speaker connected to your computer, as the event will feature pre-recorded music recorded at high quality, and live performances. This will sound as good as the speakers you are using!
For a preview of the debut Web Premiere of Homage to Paradise Valley, check out our performance below of the 4th movement, "Club Paradise Jump!," live on the Oneppo Series at Yale University this past fall.
Marsha Music's new epic poem, "The Valley, the Bottom, and Hastings Street," composed for Akropolis' virtual soirée, was read by the poet live on the popular radio program, "Marketplace," with host Kai Ryssdal. Listen here.
ABOUT THE PIECE
"Homage to Paradise Valley" was commissioned by and composed for Akropolis in 2019, with support from the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Paradise Valley, a predominantly Black neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, became of interest to Jeff Scott after he and Akropolis visited the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, while Jeff's quintet, Imani Winds, was passing through Detroit on tour. Homage to Paradise Valley utilizes Jeff's diverse musical background as a classical and studio musician and composer in New York City. Jeff will be joining the faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory this fall, just a couple hours down the road from Detroit.
Comprised of 4 movements, Jeff provides these notes about each movement. The historical content of these notes and the photos and their associated captions are provided courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society, where one can find a wealth of information on Paradise Valley, Black Bottom, and how the razing of these Black neighborhoods changed the fabric of Detroit forever.
Mvt. 1 Ghosts of Black Bottom
Black Bottom was a predominantly Black neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. The term has sometimes been used to apply to the entire neighborhood including Paradise Valley, which reached from the Detroit River north to Grand Boulevard. In the early 20th century, African-American residents became concentrated here during the first wave of the Great Migration to northern industrial cities. Informal segregation operated in the city kept them in this area of older, less expensive housing. The name of the neighborhood is often erroneously believed to be a reference to the African-American community that developed in the 20th century, but it was named during the colonial era by the early French settlers because of its dark, fertile topsoil (known as river bottomlands). Black Bottom/Paradise Valley became known for its African American residents' significant contributions to American music, including Blues, Big Band, and Jazz, from the 1930s to '50s. Black Bottom's substandard housing was eventually razed and redeveloped for various urban renewal projects, driving the residents out. By the 1960s the neighborhood ceased to exist.
Mvt. 2 Hastings Street Blues
Hastings Street ran north-south through Black Bottom and had been a center of Eastern European Jewish settlement before World War I, but by the 1950s, migration transformed the strip into one of Detroit's major African-American communities of black-owned businesses, social institutions, and nightclubs. Music was the focal point of Hastings Street, with world-famous jazz and blues artists visiting almost daily.
Mvt. 3 Roho, Pumzika kwa Amani
From the Bantu language of Swahili, "Roho, Pumzika kwa Amani" (Spirits, Rest Peacefully) is a lullaby, my humble offering to the many souls who came before me and persevered through the middle passage, decades of slavery, disenfranchising laws, and inequality. I am who I am because of those who stood before me. May their spirits rest peacefully.
Mvt. 4 Club Paradise Jump!
Orchestra Hall where the Detroit Symphony Orchestra now performs closed in 1939, but reopened in 1941 as the Paradise Theater. For 10 years it would then offer the best of African-American musicians from around the country. Duke Ellington opened Christmas week with his big band, admission was 50 cents, and patrons could stay all day. There were 3 shows every day and 4 on weekends. "B" movies where shown between acts. During the glory days of jazz the Paradise Theater saw Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine, Billie Holiday, and many more. "Paradise Theater Jump" is dedicated to the famed theater and harkens to the up-tempo style of "jump blues," usually played by small groups and featuring saxophone or brass instruments.
Please visit the Detroit Historical Society website at detroithistorical.org to learn more about Paradise Valley and Black Bottom.
Any questions? Take a look at our FAQ below. If you're curious about something we haven't addressed below, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.
How long is the soirée?
60 minutes. Linger after for mingling with artists and guests.
Do I have to introduce myself at the soirée?
We'd love for everyone to introduce themselves over video, but if you'd prefer to remain anonymous or just call in (with audio and no video), that's perfectly ok too. You can also introduce yourself and then turn off your video to watch the rest of the soiree without us watching you.
How do I prepare for a soirée?
We encourage you to make an event of it! Invite friends to the same soirée, dress up, pour yourself a glass of champagne, and log in a few minutes early on the biggest computer screen you have. (Tablets and smartphones are less ideal because the screens are smaller.)
What is your refund policy?
We understand that plans change! If you no longer can attend the show, please make your refund request prior to 48 hours before the show. We are happy to provide a full refund. All refund requests within 48 hours of a performance will not be granted and your ticket purchase will be donated back to our nonprofit organization as an in-kind contribution.
How does Zoom work?
It's easy and similar to other video conferencing platforms like Skype or FaceTime. Just click the link we send with your ticket confirmation, and your computer takes care of the rest.
What if I've never used Zoom before?
Watch this video. If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help. If you don't have experience with Zoom, please leave yourself some extra time the first time you sign on.
How will I receive my link to attend?
Following the purchase of your ticket in our online store, you will receive 3 emails. The first is confirming your order, the sencond is your actual virtual ticket complete with instructions and the actual Zoom meeting link for your seelcted date and time, and then 1 more follow up email from Zoom itself confirming your registration and providing you with the event link, too.