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In honor of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, Orbert Davis, musical director of the Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra, is conducting a concert that will celebrate the sacrifice the former South African president made for the natives of his country.

In honor of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, Orbert Davis, musical director of the Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra, is conducting a concert that will celebrate the sacrifice the former South African president made for the natives of his country.

The concert, entitled “Chicago Jazz Philharmonic: Hope in Action” will be held Sunday, July 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Participating in the event as honorary co-chairs are Maggie Daley, wife of Mayor Richard M. Daley, and the South African Consul General in Chicago, Pearl Nomvume Magaqa. The concert is free to the public and will be emceed by esteemed journalist, Bill Kurtis.

Davis is an internationally famous trumpet master, composer and founding musician of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra and has written a composition especially for this grand celebration that he said was inspired by Mandela. The composition blends elements of jazz, classical and South African idioms, symbolizing Mandela’s messages of peace and unification.

“As an inspiration for this piece, I drew from various emotional moments in Nelson Mandela’s life and his amazing triumph in becoming South Africa’s first Black African president. The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic comes from the many parallels I can draw between Mandela’s ideals of perseverance, leadership, and his mission for diversity, reconciliation and equality,” Davis said.

Magaqa said, “It is a unique opportunity for Chicagoans to participate in opening this birthday gift presented to Nelson Mandela by the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and to celebrate his eventful life.”

Davis, after remembering all the trouble Mandela suffered, decided to remember Mandela through music and is helping the world to remember the tremendous sacrifices Mandela made on behalf of the people of Africa, to free them from apartheid.

Mandela was born July 18, 1918 and was an anti-apartheid activist, a leader f the African National Congress and its armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. He spent 27 years in prison on Robben Island, on convictions for crimes that included sabotage committed while he spearheaded the struggle against apartheid. Because of his opposition to apartheid, he became a symbol of freedom.

After his release from prison February 11, 1990, he became involved in multi-racial democracy in South Africa. He has been praised by many of his former opponents. Mandela has received more than 100 awards and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He is known as Madiba in South Africa, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela’s clan.

Earl Calloway can be reached at ecalloway@chicagodefender.com.

 

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