For the first time in 11 years, the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., (NANM) will hold their 95th annual convention in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 20, through Thursday, July 24.
The Doubletree Hotel Los Angeles Westside, located at 6161 Centinela Avenue in Culver City, will serve as the headquarters and main venue for much of the four-day gathering.
Arvis Jones, NANM Western Region Director, said, “Many notable musicians from all across the country will attend this uplifting, music-filled and informative convention. This event encompasses and includes many genres such as Negro Spirituals, hymns, gospel, jazz and R&B.”
Byron J. Smith, NANM President, believes Los Angeles is the ideal host city for this year’s convention.
“With the vast amount of music and entertainment that comes out of Los Angeles, it is only fitting that we all converge on Los Angeles for our 95th anniversary,” he said.
“The theme, ‘Lights, Music, Action: Spotlight on the Next Generation’ was chosen to reflect the Hollywood location of the convention.
“The spotlight on the next generation reflects not just young people, but the next 100 years of the organization,” he said. “As we try to prepare to celebrate our 100th anniversary, we are putting emphasis on NANM’s rich history.”
The late Dr. Don Lee White will be recognized for his work with NANM and commitment to the organization’s purpose at the Mass Meeting Opening on Sunday at 3 p.m., at Grant A.M.E. Church, 10435 South Central Avenue in Los Angeles. The Rev. Dr. J. Arthur Rumph is the host pastor.
“Dr. White was a past National First Vice President who was instrumental in establishing the oldest branch on the West Coast. He also spent his life advocating for NANM and its cause, especially here in Los Angeles,” added Smith.
During the gala concert on Monday at 7:30 p.m., the Inner-city Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, founded and directed by Charles Dickerson, will be featured with special guests actors Keith David and LaVan Davis.
The event will be held at Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Rev. Sam B. Kim is the pastor of the English ministry.
Jones noted, “The Life Member’s Jazz Luncheon on Tuesday at 12 p.m., at the hotel, promises to be a real treat.”
Award-winning writer and stage actress, Karen Bankhead, will emcee and perform as Ms. Etta Mae Mumphries. Also, a jazz ensemble of local youth scholarship winners will be featured.
Other highlights on Tuesday at the hotel are a tribute concert at 7 p.m., celebrating 95 years of history and the past 23 National Presidents including R. Nathaniel Dett, Brazeal Denard, and Roland Carter.
On Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m, five music legends will be honored for their contributions to African American music. The honorees are legendary vocalist, Kenneth Glover, whose 60-year performance career included serving as the official soloist for the National Baptist Convention; the Rev. Dr. Leon E. Fanniel, one of the accompanists for Mahalia Jackson; Bellflower Symphony conductor, Joseph Taylor, a music instructor for 40 years and also conductor of the NANM Convention Orchestra; and Musicians in Action founders, Jacqueline and Gerald Malone, proponents of developing positive relationships between church musicians and church leadership.
“These individuals exemplify what NANM is all about,” said Smith. “We consider it a privilege to recognize them for their hard work, commitment and sacrifice. Without them and their example, music in this country would not be where it is today.”
Founded in Chicago in 1919, NANM is the country’s oldest organization dedicated to the preservation, encouragement and advocacy of all genres of African American music. Also, NANM provides scholarships to talented young musicians throughout the country.
For a complete schedule of this year’s NANM festivities, purchasing tickets or for further information, visit [email protected] or call (323) 294-6709.