By Richard Scanland
LANSING, Ill. (February 25, 2023) – On Friday, February 24, The Lansing Library held a special music event for Black History Month, featuring jazz and blues songs from Black artists throughout the 20th century. The event provided a mix of artists and eras, which gave a good sampling of African-American music history.
Food was provided by local restaurant Dixie Kitchen and was free to all attendees. Food included barbecue fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and beans and rice.
The musical performers were the the Southside Soul Kings, who used a wide variety of instruments, such as the bass, guitar, saxophone, and the harmonica — adding a healthy blend of different sounds to their set. The crowd — which gathered on the main floor of the Library near the stage — was made up of people of all ages, and included a few families with young children, who were able to dance in front of the stage and have just as much fun as the adults.
The band played for about an hour and a half, often inviting the audience to sing along with them during some of the more well known songs. At the end, they closed with Purple Rain and the crowd joined in singing every word.
Enjoying Library events
One attendee said he loved jazz music and attended the Library’s event because of the consistently high quality acts that perform at the Library’s musical events. He has attended many of them in the past, and plans on continuing to attend in the future.
The Community Outreach Coordinator at the Lansing Library, Andrew Harootunian, said he is passionate about events like this, saying they were a perfect opportunity for the community to come together.
He said, “The Library wants to be a community hub, so it’s important that we put on events that everyone can enjoy.”
Friday’s Black History Month event was his favorite that the library has done so far, rivaled only by a Hispanic Heritage event that the library held late last year.
Harootunian also said he’s excited for a similar event in April, a jazz club night that could include wine tasting.
Those that missed Friday’s event can view the Southside Soul Kings perform on the Library’s Facebook page. Upcoming events can be found on the Lansing Library’s website: lansingpl.org/calendar.
The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue.
I wish they had a video or audio recoding of this event. Everything about it — the entertainment, the audience, the food, the reporter — seems amazing!
Thanks for your feedback, Frank. Richard Scanland is a young man who is new to the writing team, and we’ve enjoyed having him available for events like this. He did include a link to the library’s Facebook page where the Southside Soul Kings video is posted: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=879560373099008
Growing up in Lansing in the 1950s and 60s, we got most of our soul music from Reggie LaVaughn, the King Bee at radio station WB-Double-E in Harvey and Herb Kent, the Cool Gent at WJOB in Hammond. The closest R&B venue to Lansing was probably Talk-of-the-Town in Robbins, although I was told that Jimmy Reed did make one guest appearance at the Brown Derby in Thornton.
I can’t tell you how much I would’ve enjoyed this event at Lansing’s library!
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