12-02-2021  1:58 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Sen. Manning on the Year Ahead and the Year That Was

Prominent BIPOC Caucus member concerned with gun regulation, access to Covid-19 testing

Dozens of Oregon Workers Fired for Not Getting COVID Shot

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Attorney General Rosenblum Says She Won’t Run for Governor

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Portland’s Black Population Grew in the Last Decade, but That’s Not the Whole Story

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NEWS BRIEFS

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Congressional Black Caucus Issues a Statement on the Passing of Former Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek

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Vsp Global Partners With Black EyeCare Perspective to Eliminate Inequities and Increase Representation of People of Color in the Eye Care Industry

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Christmas tree buyers face reduced supplies, higher prices

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Even Christmas trees aren’t immune to the pandemic-induced shortages and inflation plaguing the economy. Extreme weather and supply chain disruptions have reduced supplies of both real and artificial trees this season. American shoppers should expect...

Girl found dead in Oregon woods identified, 2 arrested

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police have identified the remains of a child found last year and say two people have been arrested in the child’s death. Detectives responded to a report of remains found in a duffle bag near a rest area in Lincoln County on Dec. 10,...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

Mizzou's Drinkwitz returning to Arkansas for rivalry game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Just 45 miles of interstate highway separate Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he is now as Missouri's head football coach. Raised in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkwitz will come full circle Friday when his Tigers visit No. 25...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

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Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

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Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

AP source: Notre Dame set to promote Freeman to head coach

Notre Dame is working on a deal to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach to replace Brian Kelly, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because nothing had been...

Biden says HIV/AIDS strategy needs to confront inequity

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled his new HIV/AIDS strategy to end the more than 40-year-old epidemic, calling for a renewed focus on vulnerable Americans — including gay and bisexual Black and Latino men, who his administration says are too often stigmatized even as...

Study: WNBA again earns A-plus grades in diversity hiring

A diversity report has awarded the WNBA high grades again when it comes to racial- and gender-hiring practices. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida Wednesday issued an A-plus to the WNBA for the league’s overall, racial...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Animated doc 'Flee' tells young refugee’s journey

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Parton, Oh, Biles and teachers named 'People of the Year'

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Baldwin to ABC about shooting: 'I didn't pull the trigger'

NEW YORK (AP) — Alec Baldwin told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview airing Thursday that he did not pull the trigger on a prop gun he was holding on a New Mexico film set when it went off, killing a cinematographer. “I didn't pull the trigger,” Baldwin said. “I...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

What’s the status of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the US?

What’s the status of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the U.S.? It's on hold indefinitely...

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Report: Israel failed to probe shootings at Gaza protests

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South Africa's new COVID cases double in 1 day amid omicron

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Omicron unravels travel industry's plans for a comeback

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Actors on stage in "Black Nativity"
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News

It isn’t often when actors for a Christmas-themed play describe a rehearsal as “having church.” But there’s not much that is typical about the limited run of Black Nativity, a soul-stirring, foot-tapping, Gospel-singing good time, based on a musical written by Harlem Renaissance poet and playwright Langston Hughes.

“This is a piece of heaven right here,” said Richard Greer, 59, who said he has been singing since he was a teenager. “It’s the actual grassroots part of where the black spiritual music really comes from. The actual essence of what it is.”

During its two-weekend run, which opened Dec. 11, the play uses a cultural lens to retell the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ, using scripture, interpretive dance, and lots of singing. Unlike most theatrical productions, the musical:

  • Will be performed in a small church on Mallory Avenue.
  • Features a cast of 10 singers, only three of whom are experienced actors.
  • Highlights choir members from predominantly black churches in Portland.

“When it comes to gospel and spirituals, that’s something inherited from our ancestors,” said Jerry Foster, who directs the play. “It’s a cultural thing.”

Black Nativity is produced by PassinArt: A Theatre Company, the longest-running black theater company in Portland. When Foster was trying to cast the play, he reached out to musicians he knew at three churches: Highland Christian Center, Emmanuel Temple Full Gospel Pentecostal Church and St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.

“You can teach someone who can sing to act, but you can’t teach an actor to sing,” Foster explained. “That’s a big difference.”

Tanetta Martin, 46, said she was asked to participate in Black Nativity by her church’s musical director, who also brought along a few additional members of the church’s praise team.

“I’ve been singing all my life,” said Martin, whose only previous theatrical experience was a small part in a church play. “I don’t consider myself a professional. I’m a worshipper.”

At a recent rehearsal, performers straggled in from other church-based rehearsals and singing commitments. Greer warmed up by singing as he paced the sidewalk outside the church. Inside, Foster was anxious to begin. He had emailed each of the singers the words to a new song and it was time to see how they sounded.

“Do you know the rhythm,” Foster asked. “Let’s get up and let’s work.”

He was promptly corrected by Martin, who advised: “Let’s pray.”

The cast of the holiday musical stood among the pews and held hands as Greer offered a stirring prayer that acknowledged those who were there and asked for safe travel for those who were still on their way to rehearsal.

“I started to pass the collection plate,” Foster joked, afterward.

A vocal teacher from Emmanuel Temple, CJ Wells, then promptly led the group in the new song. “Right there,” he demanded, demonstrating the right chord. “Rise up, shepherd and follow. It’s high, not low.”

Soloist Tracey Jenkins, 40, says the songs in the play remind her of “old time religion. These are the songs that really touched people’s souls and they gave God praise and they trusted him, no matter what they were going through.”

This year’s production is the fourth time in 20 years that PassinArt has offered Black Nativity as part of its season. From now on, the company would like to mount it as an annual holiday tradition, as it is done in other cities, such as Boston, Atlanta and Seattle.  Foster noted that audience members of all walks of life, whether of faith or not will, enjoy this performance. “It’s a play for everybody because the basic foundation is the music.”

This is the final weekend of the play’s run. On Dec. 18 and 19 the play runs at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday it starts at 3 p.m. All performances are at the Greater St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church, 3605 NE Mallory Ave.

Admission is $20 in advance; $25 at the door. The group rate ticket is $15 per ticket for purchases of 10 or more tickets. There is no charge charge for children 5 and under, and the charge for children up to age 12 is $5 at the door.

Tickets are available online at www.passinart.net or through JP’s Custom Picture Framing & Gallery, 418 NE Killingsworth, (503) 288-2118, or Elevated Coffee, 5261 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., (971) 255-1296.

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