The release was originally written by Sharon Kunkel at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is celebrating Black History Month with a free performance of “Jazzlinks: Songs and Stories of the Civil Rights Movement” outdoors at The Bay on February 17. The Jazzlinks touring education program – a collaboration of WBTT, the Jazz Club of Sarasota and Sarasota County Schools – is an integrated arts experience presented at all Sarasota County high schools to help illustrate, through music and theatre, the contributions of African Americans in U.S. history.
This year’s Jazzlinks program, which is under the leadership of WBTT Education Director/Artistic Associate Jim Weaver, focuses on the Woolworth Lunch Counter Protest and Montgomery Bus Boycott. As in the past, this is a two-part presentation with two separate scripts: one to be presented in individual classrooms and another to be performed in an auditorium or theater space for multiple classes. In order to be able to adjust to ever-changing pandemic conditions, WBTT has video recorded both scripts so that students can see it either in-person or through video.
Songs featured in this year’s presentation include “We Shall Overcome,” “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “Blowin’ In the Wind,” “What’s Going On,” “People Get Ready,” “Young, Gifted and Black,” “How I Got Over” and more.
“While Jazzlinks is intended for and geared toward students, we are really looking forward to sharing the program with the wider community,” said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. “We appreciate being able to perform at such a beautiful venue – many thanks to The Bay for hosting us on February 17!”
“The Bay is committed to building a park that is open and accessible, free and welcoming to all, and it’s by partnering with organizations like WBTT that we are doing so,” added Jeannie Perales, Chief Experience Officer, The Bay Park. “We are honored to present this important program to our community in celebration of Black History Month.”
The 2022 Jazzlinks sponsors are Shelley & Sy Goldblatt, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and the Florida Department of State, Division of Arts & Culture.
The performance takes place outdoors on The Bay’s Civic Green lawn (801 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota) on Thursday, February 17 at 5:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. For more about WBTT, visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
The mission of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) is to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates African American history and experience, engages a broad base of patrons and audiences, supports the development of a dynamic group of aspiring artists and builds self-esteem in youth of color. Visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.