CANADIAN ETHNIC MEDIA ASSOCIATION

Voices of Canada

Black History Month … Official kick-off on Jan. 28

January 26, 2015

The Ontario Black History Society hosts –

The official kick-off brunch establishing February 2007 as Black History Month

Sunday, January 28, 2007, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel, 123 Queen Street West , Toronto , the Dominion Ballroom.

(An Official Press Release from the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS)

The Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) is a non-profit registered Canadian charity, dedicated to the study, preservation and promotion of Black History and heritage. Since 1979, OBHS has championed the celebration of February as Black History Month in Canada , and since the national launch of Black History month in 1996, OBHS has been the proud host of the official Black History Month kick-off event each January.

The event brings together participants and supporters from across Canada , and involves corporations, politicians, community organizations and individuals that reflect the diversity of our country.

On January 28, 2007, participants at the kick-off brunch will be addressed by our Lieutenant-Governor for Nova Scotia , Mayann Francis, and OBHS will unveil its 2007 Black History Month poster. This occasion will also see the official launch of a new African-Canadian historic exhibit created in partnership with the Archives of Ontario.

The theme for this year is inspired by the Abolition of Slavery Act of 1807. This act was the start of a successful process that outlawed the African slave trade worldwide. After centuries of suffering, millions of African slaves were eventually freed and millions of lives saved. This anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the struggles of the past, the progress we have made and also the challenges that remain.

The OBHS annual kick-off brunch is a very popular annual event and patrons are encouraged to purchase their tickets early, available through the OBHS office at 416-867-9420

The brunch will feature entertainment by world-class AfricanCanadian performers, Canadian soprano Denise Williams, Blues singer Diana Braithwaite, and The Nathaniel Dett Chorale. The popular African marketplace will offer a variety of treasures.

Canadian soprano Denise Williams is a versatile and accomplished singer who is equally at home on the concert, opera and Broadway stages. She has performed as soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Sinfonietta, Etobicoke Centennial Choir, and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, for whom she sang duets with featured artist Kathleen Battle.

Under the banner of Sophisticated Soul, Ms. Williams has created and performed a variety of unique solo concert programs that blend diverse cultural and musical traditions. One of the most popular is Walk Together Children, her program of Black and Jewish music which has been presented at many venues. In 2001, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra featured her in four performances of an African-American concert that included excerpts from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and spirituals. The event earned standing ovations and prompted Andy Barrie, host of CBC Radios Metro Morning, to exclaim, Denise Williams and Marcus Nance singing Bess You is my Woman Now was TO DIE FOR.

Dubbed as Canada s National Treasure by Blues FM Radio Show Host Danny Marks, Diana Braithwaite is a dynamic blues singer who in 1999 was chosen by Sarah Mclachlan as one from 400 singer/songwriters to open Lilith Fair at the Molson Amphitheatre where she kicked off the show with a powerful opening concert for the 18,000 in attendance. Born into a musical family in Toronto , Braithwaites descendants arrived in the country from the Southern United States via the Underground Railroad. The young singer grew up listening to delta blues and country & western records and was part of a musical group with her brothers Victor, Cecil and sister Charlane. A recipient of the African-American Women in the Arts Award in Chicago ,Illinois , Diana has performed and shared the bill with blues greats such as John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Jeff Healey and Mel Brown. An award winning songwriter as well as a singer, Diana’s original blues songs Bad Luck Man and Blame it on the Bourbon were featured on the soundtrack for the Gemini Award-winning film, GRACIE then went on to win her several awards including a Yorkton Golden Sheaf Award for Best Musical Score.

Gemini-award winning, The Nathaniel Dett Chorale is Canada ‘s first professional choral group dedicated to Afrocentric music of all styles including classical, spiritual, gospel, jazz, folk and blues. These multi-faceted vocalists have performed at events honouring world leaders Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Ali. Recent performance highlights include a Halifax concert to benefit The Black Loyalist Heritage Society, a Remembrance Day concert at Ottawa s Christ Church Cathedral and headlining the Wisconsin and Michigan State Conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. Upcoming engagements include a tour of the North Eastern United States with stops in Michigan , Ohio and WashingtonD.C. (U.S. Library of Congress).

The Ontario Black History Society hosts –

The official kick-off brunch establishing February 2007 as Black History Month

Sunday, January 28th 2007, 12pm to 4pm; Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel, The Dominion Ballroom

Keynote speaker: Lieutenant-Governor for Nova Scotia , Ms Mayann Francis

Unveiling of the 2007 Black History Month poster

official launch of a new African-Canadian historic exhibit

Performances by The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Canadian soprano Denise Williams, Gemini award winner Diana Braithwaite 

popular African marketplace

Cost: Individual- $55; table of 10- $500

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities: please contact Gillian at

Tel: (416) 867-9420 admin@blackhistorysociety.ca