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February 29, 2008
Black History Month ends on high note launching “Performance: The Voice on the Concert Stage”
The City of Toronto celebrated Black History Month with the launch of the Performance Series - “Performance: The Voice on the Concert Stage,” at St. Lawrence Hall yesterday evening. Vocalists A.J. Brown, Shakura S’Aida, and Shawne Jackson gave outstanding performances, while accompanied by a 12-piece orchestra under the direction of Lance Anderson.

Prior to the concert, Mayor David Miller addressed members of the public, business community, community-based organizations and consul generals. “Black History Month provides an opportunity to learn about the experiences of Black Canadians and the vital role they played in making Toronto the culturally diverse and prosperous city we know today. With tonight’s performance we honour and celebrate the achievements of people of African heritage and acknowledge their contributions to the social, political, economic and cultural life of Toronto,” said Mayor David Miller.

The introduction of this year’s theme, “Performance: The Voice on the Concert Stage,” is an ode to the beauty and excitement of live performance. We all possess the ability to use the human voice to communicate through sounds and words, and for centuries, Black artists have used voice to document historical periods, transmit culture and communicate the social condition of Black cultures. The versatility of the ‘Black voice’ has demonstrated the wide-range of its capabilities.

On February 27, 25 music students from four Toronto high schools participated in a special Master Class to interact with professional vocalists, understand and fine tune their musical skills and develop confidence in performing in a theatre setting. In this class A.J., Shakura and Shawne each performed a song and discussed various aspects of their craft with the students.

Yesterday evening’s Black History Month celebration was presented by City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation in partnership with Air Jamaica and SuperClubs Resorts. For more information about this year’s Black History Month celebrations in Toronto, visit

The City’s Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division also released the next poster in the Contributions of African Canadians Poster Series, which carries this year’s theme of “Performance: The Voice on the Concert Stage.” Since 1993, the City of Toronto has celebrated the achievements of Canadians of African descent with a poster series that profiles the contributions of African Canadians, past and present, who have distinguished themselves in diverse endeavours. The nine posters in the series are available for purchase. For more information, visit

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:

Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Media Hotline, 416-560-8726,



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