The sound of music filled the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support auditorium during a celebration of African American History Month Feb. 27 in Philadelphia.
Entertainers from Key Arts productions sang and provided a narrative on this year’s theme, “Black Migrations,” to the backdrop of a multi-media presentation that highlighted African-Americans’ movement both geographically and socially through the 20th century.
Key Arts presenter Joe Patterson began by inviting the audience to join the entertainers in singing and clapping along, as well as recognizing employees’ past support of Key Arts’ presentations.
“We always have a great time when we visit [Troop Support],” Patterson said. “[Employees] sing along with us and clap your hands … I expect to hear those voices again as we take you on a brief journey through African-American history and culture.”
The presentation provided a musical history from early 1900’s spiritual music through modern pieces such as Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” with emphasis on the social and geographical migration of African-Americans through public acceptance of black culture as expressed through music.
Patterson spoke to the growth in popularity of artists such as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin and Boyz II Men as the audience joined the entertainers in singing samples of the artists’ musical hits. He related the artists’ wide-spread acceptance to social change as African-Americans migrated further north in America, and into “new social realities.”
Troop Support Internal Review Evaluator Inge Updike said she appreciated the historical perspective and musical presentation.
“[Key Arts] did a really good job with the performance,” Updike said. “I like how they went through from the beginning [of the 20th century] to now. The music kept everybody interested and they made it fun.”
The Troop Support and NAVSUP Weapons Systems Support Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committees sponsored the event.