PORT ARTHUR —
Drumroll please — Port Arthur Public Library had a lot more going on Saturday than checking out books, and from the sounds emanating from the Lucy Stiefel Gallery, it seemed the old adage of being quite in the library no longer applied.
In conjunction with African American Music Appreciation Month, the library hosted local African American musicians while paying tribute to native jazz musician Zachary Breaux for the second consecutive year.
From the smooth sounds of jazz performed by Pat Juneau and the All Stars of Port Arthur, to the big boom of Tekoa Academy’s Drum Corp, the library sounds were as electrifying as they were moving.
“Black music is important because it is part of what we feel; it is a music that has feelings,” Josiah Alexander, director of Tekoa’s Drum Corp.
Five members of the Drum Corps’ drum line participated in Saturday’s tribute to African American music. From third grader to 10th grade, the youngsters showed their musical talent.
Jacarius Tatman, 13, has been a member of drum Corp since he was in the first grade, and enjoys listening to those who have made that mark in music like Port Arthur’s Zachary Breaux.
“He is very inspirational; he’s done a lot of things with music that people have never thought to do,” Tatman.
Pat Juneau and his band — all seasoned musicians who know their way around the stage — entertained crowds with Jazz standards such as Duke Ellington’s “Misty,” and paid homage to Breaux with a lively rendition of his “Small Town in Texas.”
“This is our heritage; it’s been around before I got here, and its something we need to teach our youth,” Shelton Forrest, All-Star keyboard player, said.
Also in attendance was Port Arthur’s Glenn Patrick Lee, with the Gospel band Salt of the Earth.
June is designated every year as African-American Music Appreciation Month — a time to celebrate African American Music in the United States. It was originally started as Black Music Month by President Jimmy Carter, who on June 7, 1979, decreed that June would be the month of black music.
President Barack Obama in 2009 renamed the celebration to African-American Music Appreciation Month.