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WRTI Spotlight

Music in honor of Juneteenth on WRTI

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Juneteenth, now a federal holiday on June 19th commemorating the end of slavery in the United States and the emancipation of Black Americans, is also a celebration of Black culture. Join us on WRTI 90.1 to hear the perfect mix of classical music and jazz for the occasion.

On the classical side, our Juneteenth celebration begins early on Saturday morning, June 18th with Mike Bolton when we’ll present music by prominent Black composers and performers including William Grant Still, Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint Georges, Anthony McGill, Valerie Coleman, Florence Price, and Jessie Montgomery.

On Sunday, June 19th, from 4 to 6 PM, we’ll bring you two Juneteenth specials. At 4 PM, Juneteenth: Remembrance and Celebration, hosted by APM’s Jeffrey Yelverton uses the commemoration of the emancipation of all who have been enslaved in the U.S. to explore historical injustices and the promise of a more equitable future through a tapestry of sounds, somber to ecstatic.

At 5 PM, Justin Holland: The Guitar’s Black Pioneer, hosted by APM’s Scott Blankenship, explores the life of Black guitar virtuoso, educator, and activist in the 19th century who wrote intricate transcriptions of popular operas, songs, and compositions of his own. Holland was born free and worked to help other enslaved Black people on the Underground Railroad.

In this special, Professor Ernie Jackson, a Holland expert, talks about his experience as a guitar student and how Holland’s music gave him hope and inspiration. Many of the guitar pieces included in this special have not been recorded before and are performed by Ernie Jackson, Mike Vascones, Mark Delpriora, Keith Calmes and Gaby Leite.

On the jazz side, we’ll celebrate Juneteenth early on Friday, June 17th by presenting songs of change and freedom on Nouveau Jazz Showcase with Courtney Blue from 6 to 10 PM. We’ll feature music from the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective with Dee Alexander, the new Jazz Is Dead album featuring the fabulous Philly legend Jean Carne, and Jeremy Pelt.

On Saturday, June 18th, starting at 6 PM, Bobbi Booker will spike Jukebox Jazz until 9 PM with versions of Civil Rights Movement classics like “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “What’s Going On,” and “People Get Ready.” Songs of freedom from Charles Mingus, Bobby Watson and Kenny Garrett will blend into the mix, among others.

On Sunday morning starting at 6 AM, Bobbi Booker will host a special edition of Spirit Soul Music on Ovations with songs that pay homage to Juneteenth and Father's Day. During Jazz Brunch with BP, from 9 AM to 1 PM, the celebration continues with songs of change and freedom, and, of course, playing tributes to the dads with classics like Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father.” In a Mellow Tone with Maureen Malloy from 9 PM to midnight will follow suit and will bring mild and muted versions of these thematic pieces.