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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 16 December 2008

Town Hall Presents 'From Odetta To Obama: Celebrating A Changing America'
An Inauguration Day Gala Concert
Tuesday, January 20 At 7:30 PM

On the historic occasion of the inauguration of Barack Obama, Town Hall will hold a tribute to the life and career of Odetta Holmes, the famed folk singer whose passionate performances reflected the yearning for a new American dream. Odetta died on Dec. 2, 2008 at the age of 77.
The special gala concert – on Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. -- will feature the extraordinary voice of jazz legend Ernestine Anderson. Hosting the evening is performer/disc jockey, KEXP's Riz Rollins (DJ Riz). Joining them are blues singer Chic Street Man, traditional Negro Spirituals from The Sound of the Northwest, performers from Seattle Opera's Young Artist Program (Odetta was a trained opera singer), and the joyful gospel vocals of the Imani Fellowship Choir. The evening will begin with a big screen rebroadcast of Obama's inauguration speech at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 and available at www.brownpapertickets.com or 800-838-3006, and at the door.
Odetta Holmes (December 31, 1930 – December 2, 2008), known as Odetta, was an African-American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement." Her musical repertoire consisted largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals.
An important figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, she was influential musically and ideologically to many of the key musical figures of that time, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin. In 1961, Martin Luther King, Jr. anointed her "The Queen of American Folk Music," and many Americans remember her performance at the 1963 civil rights march in Washington, DC where she sang "O Freedom," and Dr. King gave his immortal "I Have a Dream" speech. Two years later she marched with Dr. King from Selma to Montgomery. In 1999, President Bill Clinton presented Odetta with the National Medal of the Arts, and in 2004, she was honored at the Kennedy Center with the "Visionary Award" along with a tribute performance by Tracy Chapman.
In a career spanning more than five decades, Ernestine Anderson has recorded over thirty albums, and has had an enormously successful recording and live performing career. She joined Qwest Records in the early 1990s, the label of fellow Garfield High School grad Quincy Jones. She has been nominated four times for a Grammy Award, has sung at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival - six times over a 33-year span, including the first festival, and at jazz festivals world-wide.
Also on inauguration day, join Town Hall and watch the historic event on a big screen in the company of friends, neighbors, and the community. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. (coffee, tea and pastries available for purchase), and just like our Election Night event, it's free! Presented by Town Hall Center for Civic Life. 
Free, no tickets required. Please register at www.brownpapertickets.com (no calls).

Who: From Odetta to Obama: Celebrating a Changing America
What: An inauguration day gala concert
Where: Town Hall
When: Tuesday, January 20 at 7:30 pm
How much: Tickets are $5 and available at www.brownpapertickets.com or 800/838-3006, and at the door.

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