HOUSTON – Feb. 19, 2018 – The Wells Middle School fine arts department is celebrating Black History Month with an evening of music, dance, drama and art at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Wells Middle School large gymnasium. The program, which is free and open to the public, is titled “About Being Young, Gifted, and Black: A Tribute to Black History Through Literature, Music, Dance, and Art.” Featuring performances from the school’s band, choir, theater and dance ensembles, the event will also include an art gallery of original works by students.
Wells Director of Theater Johnny B. Williams said that attendees can expect a range of inspiring entertainment during the hour-long program, including a few rousing choral and dance numbers, an African drum ensemble, and dramatic performances saluting black playwrights.
“This year’s show is special in so many ways,” Williams said. “Our students have worked hard and had a lot of fun putting the show together. Our kiddos are beyond impressive, and you don’t want to miss the performance!”
With approximately 150 students involved in the production, teachers at the school have been hard at work planning and coordinating the many details that will go into the final event. Selections for the show were made during the fall, and students have been rehearsing their parts since returning from Winter Break.
The program’s title is a reference to the work of Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote the well-known play “A Raisin in the Sun” – winner of the 1959 New York Drama Critics’ Circle award for best play. Hansberry was the first black female playwright to have her work performed on Broadway. Following her death from cancer at age 34, a number of her unpublished writings were adapted into a play, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” which is a posthumous portrait of Hansberry, her life, and her works.
When asked what had inspired the theme for this year’s Black History performance at Wells, Williams cited the following passage from Hansberry’s writings:
“I suppose I think that the highest gift that man has is art,” Hansberry wrote, “and I am audacious enough to think of myself as an artist — that there is both joy and beauty and illumination and communion between people to be achieved through the dissection of personality. That’s what I want to do. I want to reach a little closer to the world, which is to say to people, and see if we can share some illuminations together about each other.”
The gallery of Wells student artwork accompanying the performance will be on display both before and after the evening’s main program.