National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $27 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is a Challenge America grant of $10,000 to First Coast Opera for A Tribute to Marian Anderson. Challenge America grants support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations —those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.
“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
“We are thrilled and honored to once again receive the NEA’s support and endorsement of one of our programs,” said FCO Artistic Director Curtis Tucker.
The company also received NEA support for its 2017 production of The Trial of B. B. Wolf, which will be re-mounted this year during FCO’s Family Opera Festival in March and April.
First Coast Opera will perform A Tribute to Marian Anderson on March 1 and March 3 at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in Saint Augustine, and on March 2 at Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach.
The concert program will feature Saint Augustine soprano Lisa Lockhart; Orlando mezzo-soprano Taylor-Alexis Dupont; Jacksonville jazz singer Mama Blue; and bass-baritone Carl DuPont from Charlotte, North Carolina. The program will be accompanied on the piano by Bonita Wyke and hosted by FCO Artistic Director Curtis Tucker.
One of the most celebrated American singers of the 20th Century, Marian Anderson was both an exemplary performer and trail blazer of the Civil Rights Movement. When she was not allowed to sing to an integrated audience in 1939, Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to sing a now-famous concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
She later sang at the presidential inaugurations for both Dwight D. Eisenhowerand John F. Kennedy. In 1955, she became the first black singer at The Metropolitan Opera in New York. She was among the first class of artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honors.
FCO’s concert will highlight her remarkable talent and perseverance, while also celebrating artists that followed, such as William Warfield, Paul Robeson, Leontyne Price, and jazz greats Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald.
Tickets are available at www.firstcoastopera.com or call 904-417-5555.