First Friday at First, a part of the Jazz and Arts Ministry at First Congregational Church, has become a mainstay opportunity for great music that is good for the soul and an outstanding opportunity to be in downtown Atlanta for a gratifying and appealing evening in a safe place with great people. First Friday is held on the first Friday evening of each month from 6:00 through 9:00 p.m., in the Commons, on the campus of First Church, located at 125 Ellis St. NE. The last concert of the season occurs in November, 2017.
Atlanta’s premier jazz ministry is a featured program sponsored and hosted by First Congregational Church under the supervision of The Reverend Dr. Dwight Andrews, pastor of the church and a jazz master saxophone player in his own right. “First Fridays at First Church is an elegant, true jazz experience that warms the heart and soul making you feel real good!” says Theresa Hightower, who was the featured artist at First Friday in March.
The line-up for Jazz 2017 at First Friday includes some of Atlanta’s most prestigious jazz musicians. Featured artists who will perform for the remainder of the year include Louis Heriveaux. pianist (May); Alex Lattimore, vocalist (June); Mike Walton, tenor saxophonist (July); Will Scruggs, saxophonist (August); Doc Powell, guitarist (September); Kevin Bales, pianist (October); and Joe Jennings, saxophonist and leader of the “Neighborhood Arts Ensemble Big Band” closes out the season in November.
First Friday at First is the brainchild of Dr. Andrews, an accomplished musician and composer, is also an Associate Professor of Music at Emory University. He was the first Quincy Jones Visiting Professor of African American Music at Harvard University for 1996-1997. He is the recipient the Yale Divinity School’s prestigious Lux et Veritas Award, and was the Distinguished Visiting Scholar of the Arts at Spelman College for 2015-2016.
As a musician, Dr. Andrews has appeared on over 25 jazz and ‘new music’ recordings. He is recognized for his collaborations with playwright August Wilson and director Lloyd Richards, having served as musical director for the Broadway productions of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, and Seven Guitars, and the Broadway revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom featuring Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton. He provided the music direction for the Broadway revival production of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, and Sanaa Latham. His film credits include The Old Settler starring Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen, The Piano Lesson, HBO’s Miss Evers’ Boys and the PBS documentaries, W.E.B. Dubois: A Biography in Four Voices and Homecoming: The Plight of Black Farmers in Georgia.
The public is invited for great music, a full course fish dinner, fun, and fellowship. First Church wants to remind the public to come early to get a seat. Individual tickets are $15.00 each; prices for dinner range from $7.00 to $4.00. For further information and to purchase tickets, please contact First Church at 404-659-6255 and ask for the church administrator during regular office hours.
First Congregational Church is an historic African American congregation, having been founded in 1867.
2017 marks its 150th Anniversary of mission and ministry to Atlanta and the world. The yearlong celebration will include special worship services, community forums, a film series, and music commissions. Often referred to as a“congregation of leaders,” many prominent Atlantans are members, including Ambassador Andrew Young, former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Leah Ward Sears, and former Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum. The Reverend Dr. Dwight Andrews is pastor. An accomplished musician and composer in his own right, he is an Associate Professor of Music at Emory University. The predominately African American membership welcomes people of all races and identities and believes in a holistic approach to spiritual living — mind, body, and soul.