Local jazz legend Grace Holden honored by Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
SEATTLE — Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) is proud to announce the first Seattle's Harlem Renaissance Award winner, Oscale Grace Holden (b. 1930), an international pianist and voice of jazz and African American music who was born and raised in central Seattle. The award will be presented at the LHPAI Gala Meet Me at the Savoy on Saturday, June 29 by Jacqueline D. Moscou, artistic director, LHPAI. Proceeds from the Gala will support the LHPAI Youth Performing Arts Academy and Summer Musical; tickets at brownpapertickets.com.
"Ms Holden is a legend. She exemplifies the deep community and artistic roots that are at the heart of what we do," said LHPAI executive director Royal Alley-Barnes. "We are so proud to count her in our community and pleased to be able to offer this recognition of her long contributions to the Seattle Diaspora community."
Holden was born to Leala and Oscar Holden in 1930. Oscar Holden (1886-1969) was known as the patriarch of Seattle jazz, and the Holden children, Grace, and her brothers Oscar Jr., Dave, Ron, and Jimmy were all musicians who played in Seattle in the late 1940s and beyond. By 1930, when Grace was born, Oscar Holden was a seasoned, highly successful musician. Born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1886, Holden moved as far away from the South as possible, distancing himself from his past, and the prejudices he felt growing up there.
Grace was influenced by the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Lena Horne and Dinah Washington. She played jazz with young Quincy Jones in Charlie Taylor's pioneering swing band in the 1940s with her brother Oscar Jr. Performances at Jazz Alley, Club New Orleans, Root's Picnic, Festival Sundiata, Experience Music Project and Admiral Congregational United Church of Christ have put Grace on the national and international Jazz map. Grace Holden still sings in her church's gospel choir.
Grace Holden's family maxim to "never stop learning and never stop trying to learn," fits particularly well with the mission of LHPAI and LHPAI's youth and young adult performing artist programs.
The above account of Holden's life is excerpted from HistoryLink.org; more on Grace Holden here.
Meet Me at the Savoy
Along with Grace Holden, enjoy local actors portraying Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Maya Angelou. Jackie "Moms" Mabley be your hostess and of course Langston Hughes will be in attendance. Your evening includes fine dining and a star-studded performance. Proceeds from the Gala will support the LHPAI Youth Performing Arts Academy and Summer Musical; tickets at brownpapertickets.com.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Instittue
LHPAI celebrates, nurtures, presents, and preserves African American and Diaspora performing arts, cultural wealth and iconic legacies. Named for the prolific African American artist Langston Hughes, LHPAI represents the pluralism of local, national and global Black people, in the media platforms of film, dance, theatre and music.
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