As one of the most influential musical artists, Duke Ellington has made significant contributions to jazz and society, documenting meaningful moments in African American culture. The Detroit Jazz Festival will celebrate Ellington’s impact, presenting his “Black, Brown and Beige” symphony for big band and other noteworthy works – including “Creole Love Cal,” “Diminuendo and Cresendo in Blue,” “Black Tan Fantasy” and “Black Beauty” – with the first concert of the 2013 Detroit Jazz Festival Community Series on March 10, 2013, at 3 p.m. at The Fillmore, Detroit.

“This symphony, the only symphony Ellington created, is rarely performed. It’s a truly historic opportunity for the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra,” said Chris Collins, artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival. “Ellington’s ‘Black, Brown, Beige’ symphony has a powerful cultural message, it’s an inspirational piece for all. We are proud to commemorate his exceptional work and influence on our history and the jazz community.”

Joining the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra will be world-renowned conductor David Berger, featured Detroit-native tenor sax soloist James Carter and Detroit vocalists Alice McAllister Tillman and Shahida Nurullah. To highlight the meaning behind the music, Berger also will offer narrative and background on each of the pieces, as well as insight on Ellington’s original performance of “Black, Brown and Beige” at Carnegie Hall in 1943.

“We want to bring once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like this concert to our communities, whether that be through concerts, in-school education or other community events. Presenting this symphony, which Ellington only played in its entirety once, is an exceptional experience,” said Gretchen Valade, chair of the Foundation Board of Directors, Detroit Jazz Festival.. “We make it our goal to present these unique opportunities as much as possible “The Detroit Jazz Festival’s year-round efforts are meant to inspire and enrich the lives of music lovers in our region.”

The Detroit Jazz Festival is more than just a one-weekend event, concerts and community initiatives are held throughout the year to celebrate the jazz culture and history. Programs that have continually enriched communities will still be in place in 2013, including JC Heard Jazz Week@Wayne and the Jazz Guardian Award.

Tickets to the concert range in price from $15 to $35 and can be purchased online HERE.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old African American woman who worked as a seamstress, inspired a social movement when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Ala., city bus. That singular act of courage helped spark the Civil Rights Movement and a new era in the American quest for freedom and equality. On Feb. 4, 2013, The Henry Ford will acknowledge Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday and her inspiring life through a National Day of Courage, encouraging every American to take a stand and commit themselves to do something courageous just as Mrs. Parks did back on that day in 1955.

 The day-long celebration taking place inside Henry Ford Museum will feature nationally-recognized speakers, live music, and dramatic presentations. Current scheduled speakers include American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement Julian Bond, contributing Newsweek editor Eleanor Clift, Rosa Parks biographers Jeanne Theoharis and Douglas Brinkley and author and Wayne State University Assistant Professor Danielle McGuire.

The U.S. Postal Service will also be recognizing Mrs. Parks’ extraordinary life as an American activist and iconic figure in the Civil Rights Movement by unveiling the Rosa Parks Forever Stamp during a special First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony at The Henry Ford. Guests can become one of the first to purchase the stamp throughout the day inside the Museum.

Guests in attendance will also have the opportunity to take a seat on the Rosa Parks bus, which is on permanent display inside the Museum. In honor of the event, admission to Henry Ford Museum is free courtesy of Target and the Museum will extend its hours of operation until 9:30 p.m.

For those unable to attend the day’s events in-person, Detroit Public Television will be providing a live national broadcast via satellite and across the Internet. Visitors to The Henry Ford’s Facebook page can also participate by sharing what they have the courage to do in honor of Rosa Parks’ birthday on Feb. 4.


Over 30 area cyclists will take to the virtual streets for Detroit’s first indoor bike race on cycling simulators in Downtown Detroit this month. Endurance Fest 2013 pits riders against each other, hashing it out tournament-style on Computrainer equipment that measures their exact power output, even factoring in drag and weight.

Participants will race on simulated real-life courses from the comfort of an indoor training facility.

“This is the same equipment that USA Cycling and USA Triathlon use to test and train their team athletes. For indoor cycling, there’s really nothing like it,” says Landall Proctor, owner of Detroit’s newest fitness facility, Detroit Endurance Lab.

Proctor, 31, moved to Detroit last year with his wife and son to fulfill his dream of operating his own endurance training facility that caters to every level of athlete. His Detroit Endurance Lab offers group and individual training, indoor cycling classes, and a built-in cheering section to athletes interested in triathlons, running events, and cycling.

Both beginner and experienced cyclists will participate in the race that will take place Saturday, February 9th just off the Dequindre Cut. “With Detroit’s frigid winters, we think cyclists and health-conscious folks in and near the city are really going to benefit from having easy access to the technology,” says Proctor, “And we’re excited to be kicking it all off with Endurance Fest.”

For more information, visit

It is time for a change in Detroit.  I usually stay out of all things political and religious in nature with my blog, but times have changed, well the political aspect has.  I cannot stomach to see the progress and strides so many have made in Detroit stifled by inefficient and short-sighted political servants.  To be clear, this is not a blanket statement directed at the Mayor's Office or City Council as a whole.  We all know the individuals that fall under this category and it does not apply to everyone. 

Declare Detroit has put together a Political Action Committee (PAC) to facilitate these efforts, below is from their website.  Please note I have no affiliation with this organization:

Imagine your “Dream Team” at Detroit City Hall. The best & brightest leaders from every district, shaping the city’s future. Now imagine that YOU were a part of sending this team to work.

This year, Declare Detroit is taking the Detroit Declaration to the next level — with real political action. Welcome to our new Political Action Committee (PAC) — a vehicle to support candidates who are committed to moving Detroit forward, guided by the principles of the Detroit Declaration.  They invite you to participate in the PAC by donating to the fund and identifying promising future leaders.

To learn more about Declare Detroit and their principals, please click HERE!

To donate online, click HERE.
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