In conjunction with the Committee for Coast-Wide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration, New Orleans jazz singer Stephanie Jordan is gracing the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center stage, 1600 Government Street in Ocean Springs, Mississippi on Saturday, January 19, at 7:00pm, with a tribute to the fabulous Lena Horne. Seating is reserved and limited. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at the Mary C Box Office or online at http://www.themaryc.org/Tickets/Index.html, or by phone at (228) 818-2878.
Accompanied by Emmy-award winning arranger Mike Esneault on piano, the Stephanie Jordan Big Band jazz concert will fill the Center with Jordan’s signature sound of jazz standards from the Big Band era. The show will include highlights from Jordan’s self-produced CD; “Stephanie Jordan Sings A Tribute to the Fabulous Lena Horne” which honors the legendary Grammy Award winner who also starred in many films.
Jordan said, “It is fitting that this performance coincides with Southern Mississippi’s Official MLK Birthday Celebration. In addition to being a great performer, Lena Horne was also known for her work in the Civil Rights era and was applauded by many and shunned by others for refusing to play roles that stereotyped African-American women. Horne remained active in the civil rights movement even though she had been blacklisted by Hollywood for her activist role. She performed at rallies around the country on behalf of the NAACP, the National Council for Negro Women, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the Urban League, and was a speaker at the 1963 March on Washington.”
Jordan continues, “Lena Horne even spoke at an NAACP rally with Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the weekend before Evers was assassinated.”
By the end of the 1940s, Horne had sued a variety of restaurants and theaters for discrimination and become an outspoken member of the Progressive Citizens of America. McCarthyism was sweeping through Hollywood, and Horne soon found herself blacklisted. Since she was unable to work in film, television, theater or recording, she performed primarily in posh nightclubs around the country. The ban eased in the mid-1950s, and Horne returned to the screen in the 1956 comedy Meet Me in Las Vegas (Source: Bio.com).
According to Horne’s Kennedy Center biography, she refused to perform “for segregated audiences or to groups in which German POWs were seated in front of African American servicemen.” She was, as well, outspoken when she met with prominent officials—including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt—about the need to pass anti-lynching laws.
As Chairman of the The Committee for a Coast-Wide Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday Celebration we would like to invite all residence of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida,Tennessee, and Georgia to join use for our 27th Annual Coast-Wide celebration. We honor Dr. King for his sacrifice of life for the freedom of all. Our younger generation must understand that freedom isn’t free. It was the sacrifice of our fore fathers that made it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms that we have today.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Coast-Wide Birthday Celebration schedule of events include:
- Friday, January 18, 2013, Gospel Extravaganza, 7:00 pm, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 4303 Tennessee Ave. Gulfport, MS. 39501, Guest Choir Dr. MLK Gospel Choir;
- Saturday, January 19, 2013, Law/Health Fair/Blood Drive/Business Expo, 10:00am-1:00pm, Kroc Center, 575 Division Street Biloxi, MS. 39530;
- Saturday, January 19, 2013, Stephanie Jordan Sings a Tribute to the Fabulous Lena Horne Jazz Concert, 7:00pm, Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center for Arts & Education, 1600 Government Street, Ocean Springs, MS 39564, Admission $20;
- Sunday, January 20, 2013, MLK Program, 3:00pm, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 4303 Tennessee Ave. Gulfport, MS. 39501, Guest Speaker: Dr. M. Christopher Brown II;
- Monday, January 21, 2013, Coast-Wide Parade, 11:00am, Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, MS. 39531, Following the Parade Battle of the Bands, Adults 5$ Children 12 & under 2$
These activities are supported in part by The Committee for a Coast-Wide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration, City of Biloxi, Harrison County Tourism Commission, Biloxi Branch NAACP, Harrison County Board of Supervisors, Mississippi Power Foundation, WJZD Radio, Rex Distributing, McDonalds, and the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center. For more information on the Committee for Coast-Wide Martin Luther King, J. Birthday Celebration, contact Mr. James Crowell, President of the Biloxi branch of the NAACP at 228-432-0206.
Stephanie who had the privileged of mentoring under the guidance of Shirley Horn says that it was actually “Lena Horne who served as her first introduction to great jazz singers. As a little girl I wanted to be Lena Horne.”
Following her performance with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Chicago Tribune’s leading art critic Howard Reich wrote, “The woman can sing and indisputably knows how to reach out across the footlights . . . bringing heft to music of the Gershwins and Cole Porter without pushing volume levels. Clearly she values plush sound and knows how to produce it.”
Music critic James Walker added, “Stephanie Jordan . . . stepped in and simply mesmerized the near capacity Harris Theater crowd with a sparkling performance that surely put her in good stead with the astute Chicago audience. . . . “
Bill Milkowski of JazzTimes Magazine writes of her Jazz at Lincoln Center performance; “Stephanie Jordan, a standout here, was the real discovery of the evening. Her haunting rendition of (Here’s To Life) this bittersweet ode associated with Shirley Horn was delivered with uncanny poise and a depth of understated soul that mesmerized the crowd and registered to the back rows. Singing with clarity of diction that recalled Nat “King” Cole . . .”
Selected for the cover of the World’s Who’s Who in Jazz; “Showbiz, Pioneers, Best Singers, Entertainers and Musicians from 1606 to the Present,” the London Monthly Herald declares, “Ms. Stephanie Jordan in her silk green dress catches your eyes. She reminds me of the flashy dashy days of Josephine Baker at the Lido in Paris, the author referred to Jordan as “The classy lady of modern Jazz!”
Ms. Jordan is the fifth performer to emerge from a family of New Orleans bred musicians. As the daughter of renowned Avant-jazz saxophonist and teacher Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Stephanie’s musical roots run deep.
VIP admission tickets are available in limited quantity and include reserved seating for the show, as well as entrance to the Meet & Greet with Stephanie Jordan at The Almanett Hotel in Gulfport on Friday, January 18, at 5pm. Please contact the Mary C Box Office for more information regarding VIP tickets.
The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center for Arts & Education is located at 1600 Government Street in Ocean Springs, open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm (later for special events). Call (228) 818-2878 for more information.