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Friday, February 18, 2011

Vancouver Moving Theatre in association with the Firehall Arts Centre and the Centre of Integration for African Immigrants presents EAST END BLUES and ALL THAT JAZZ. Come and hear two of Vancouver’s finest gospel and blues singers in East End Blues and All That Jazz. This Black History Month celebration of the life and times of the East End’s historic black neighbourhood is a tribute to the contributions that African-Canadians have made, and continue to make, to the cultural and social fabric of our city. Join us on a musical tour: walk down memory lane to the Fountain Chapel – heart and soul of the historic community; jive at the legendary Harlem Nocturne, drop into fine eateries such as Vie’s Chicken and Steak House and the Country Club; and reflect on the elusive Hogan’s Alley – bulldozed by the installation of the Georgia Viaduct in the early 1970’s. The Gibson Family were the proprietors of the Country Club, while Thelma, Len and Chic Gibson danced and sang in just about every club in the East End, from the Smilin’ Buddha and the Mandarin Gardens to the Harlem Nocturne. In good times and in bad, music provided the courage and strength to make life more pleasant for everyone. We sang sorrow songs and social songs, freedom songs and glory songs and most of all we sang the blues. (East End Blues and All That Jazz) Singers Candus Churchill and Tom Pickett, pianist/musical director Bill Costin and bass player Timothy Stacey are sharing the stage with Master of Ceremonies, the well known Downtown Eastside raised actor Chic Gibson, and his sister, guest singer Thelma Gibson. This soul-stirring evening of gospel and blues, jazz and memories was created by Denis Simpson and Vancouver Moving Theatre’s Savannah Walling, assisted by Mr. Leonard Gibson and with contributions by Chic and Thelma Gibson. The late Denis Simpson, was a multi-talented artist and activist, with career highlights including; starring in the Broadway Production of Jesus Christ Superstar, singing with The Nylons, hosting the children’s TV series The Polka Dot Door, winning a Dora Mavor Award for his performance in Ain’t Misbehavin’ and a Jessie Award for his show Denis Anyone? Chic, Thelma and Leonard Gibson grew up in the Downtown Eastside to become accomplished artists, performing in Vancouver’s first live television show Bamboula, and touring internationally and across Canada. They have won awards for their contributions to the black community and achievements in the performing arts. Dancing professionally on local stages at the age five, the late Mr. Leonard Gibson became the first black dancer in Canada to train in classical ballet and choreographed and taught across North America and Europe.


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