Kirk Whalum

*Rogers, AR. Rogers Little Theater and NWA Events Unlimited are pleased to announce their partnership to hold special events in late June to coincide with the nationally recognized Black Music Month celebration.

On Thursday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church of Rogers will play host to a Gospel Jazz Concert featuring the Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir who will sing songs from their latest release, “Live to Worship.”

The concert will also include a soulful set inspired by the music of Grammy Award winning artist Kirk Whalum as interpreted by Fayetteville‟s own “Black Pearl & Friends.” Former NFL player and executive Mr. Larry Lee will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening. Lee spent more than 8 years on the gridiron playing for the renowned Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos teams; the latter of which took him all the way to the Super Bowl XXII. Currently, he can be found strumming a bass guitar and fronting the Detroit troupe known as “Larry Lee and the Back in the Day Band” (

On Friday June 24, at 7:00 p.m., it will be Movie Musical Night at the Victory Theater with Chicago-based film critic Reggie Ponder (www.theblackboxoffice). Those attending this event will be treated to a special look at the impact of music and cinema in American pop culture. Ponder is a highly sought after film critic with a knack for scoping out the latest in entertainment news. He has personally interviewed some of the hottest talent in Hollywood including Angela Bassett, Ice Cube and Thandie Newton. Legions of fans on the web are familiar with his moniker, “The Reel Critic.” Immediately following Ponder‟s lecture, there will be a special viewing of the 1978 film, “The Wiz,” based on the timeless classic, “The Wizard of Oz” which features appearances by the legendary Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

Before the curtain closes on Rogers Little Theater‟s production of, “Driving Miss Daisy,” the cast will offer one last unforgettable performance of the critically acclaimed play on Saturday, June 25 at 8:00 p.m. This final show is unique in the fact it infuses Alfred Uhry‟s delightful southern prose with music from some of the most beloved artists of the time period in which the play is set such as Ray Charles, Etta James and Aretha Franklin.

“This year‟s lineup of events in celebration of Black Music Month is a wonderful opportunity to spotlight the immense talent here in Northwest Arkansas, meanwhile acknowledging the true unifying power music has had during significant periods in our nation‟s history,” said Ms. Gwen Kelly, local event organizer.

Former President Jimmy Carter first proclaimed the month of June as Black Music Month in 1979. Now in its 32nd year, the entire month has been set aside to acknowledge the contributions of some of America‟s most prolific music icons spanning diverse musical genres from country, popular music, rhythm and blues, rock and roll to jazz.

On Tuesday, May 31, 2011, President Barack Obama proclaimed via an official release from the Office of the Press Secretary that the entire month of June shall be recognized as Black Music Month in an effort, „to honor the rich musical traditions of African-American musicians and their gifts to our country and our world.‟ The president urges proud Americans from all walks of life to host events throughout the month that, “raise awareness and foster appreciation of music composed, arranged, or performed by African Americans.”

Tickets for events range in price from $3 to $15 and can be purchased on-line at or by calling or visiting the Rogers Little Theater at (479) 631-8988 during normal business hours Tuesday-Friday 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Also, all 3 events can be purchased for the discount price of $25.

Rogers Little Theater is the presenting sponsor of Black Music Month Celebration 2011. The event sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Cumulus Broadcasting, Inc. and New Creature, Inc. Black Music Month Celebration 2011 is also being made possible through the donor and in-kind contributions of community organizations and area businesses including The Arkansas World Trade Center, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, I Support, Northwest Arkansas Young Professionals, Popcorn Indiana, and Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Young‟s Beauty Mart.


Rogers Little Theater is a non-profit with a mission is to provide live theater experiences for audiences, performers and students, enhancing the Rogers Historic District and creating a regional destination. The theater‟s motto, “Places… Everyone,”‟ reminds us of the stage manager making the final call before the show, but also speaks to the inclusive nature of the arts in the community.

NWA Events Unlimited is a non-profit entity of parent company Kelly & Associates whose mission is to provide a diverse range of high quality cultural activities that will:


* Encourage innovation and partnerships among community and regional organizations

* Inspire the development of arts in an array of different executions

* Provide opportunities for performing and visual arts presentations

* Foster creative and diverse programming

* Provide an environment that celebrates cultural pride among all who live, work and visit this extraordinary region called Northwest Arkansas


Black Music Month Celebration 2011



Mr. Olan James Freelance Publicist / [email protected]
Ms. Gwen Kelly NWA Events Unlimited / [email protected]

Mr. Richard Prudenti
Rogers Little Theater
(479) 631-8988