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Juneteenth Community Festival features Marcus Mosely, Sister J’s Soul Summit, and Bez Gospel Choir

Juneteenth Community Festival Marcus Mosely
Marcus Mosely is among the performers at a Langley festival celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. MarcusMosely.com photo.

A Langley arts group will host a celebration commemorating the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans. The Friends of Bez will present at Juneteenth Community Festival from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday (June 22). It will take place at the Bez Arts Hub (20230 64 Avenue, Unit 102) in Langley.

One of the performers—gospel singer and actor Marcus Mosely—is originally from Rails, Texas. It’s about 900 kilometres from Galveston, where the last U.S. slaves were freed on June 19, 1865. This came two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and more than two months after the former U.S. president was assassinated.

In 1985, Mosely moved to Vancouver, where he has enjoyed tremendous success as a performer. He’s best known as a founding member of The Sojourners and as artistic director of the Marcus Mosely Choir. Now a solo singer, he directs the Marcus Mosely Ensemble.

Mosely’s stage credits include Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Black and Gold Revue with the Arts Club, as well as Livent’s Show Boat. Another career highlight was creating and directing It’s Time to Sing for the Arts Club, which earned him a Jessie Richardson Award nomination. This show told the story of African-American gospel music dating back to the time of slavery.

Juneteenth Community Celebration
Sister J’s Soul Summit plays funk, soul, and R&B covers Sister J’s Soul Summit photo.

Juneteenth Community Festival gets funky

In addition to Mosely, the Juneteenth Community Festival will feature Sister J’s Soul Summit. It’s a Metro Vancouver cover band that specializes in soul, funk, and R&B. The lineup includes Joelle “Sister J” Lush as the lead vocalist, Lincoln “The Oracle” Tatem on keyboard and vocals, Jay “The Funky Chiropractor” Rennicks on guitar, Jon “Soloflex” Scott on bass, and Paul “P-Byte” Peterson on drums and vocals.

Tatem also directs the Bez Gospel Choir, which will perform at the event.

Bez Gospel Choir
Bez Gospel Choir is led by Lincoln Tatem. Bez Gospel Choir photo.

Sadly, there won’t be a Black Culture Celebration to commemorate Juneteenth at Sunset Beach in Vancouver. That’s because organizers chose not to host the annual event this year, citing “financial strain” and insufficient government support.

Last year’s Juneteenth event in Vancouver featured Maestro Fresh Wes, who was recently featured in a short National Film Board production. Gilles Dorion directed the film after Maestro received a Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award (Popular Music) as part of this year’s Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.

Gilles Dorion directed this short film about Wes “Maestro” Williams.

Friends of Bez will present the Juneteenth Community Festival from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday (June 22) at the Bez Arts Hub. For tickets, visit zeffy.com. General admission is $20 and family tickets are available for $15.

 

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Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.