A Ball, A Play, A Gala, and A Space Opera
Recap: In PART I (advertised on baltimoreblackwoman’s Facebook page as “A November to Remember”) I wrote about the Western High School 175th Birthday Red & Black Ball and the premier of a new play, Thoughts of A Colored Man. This installment recounts the rest of my busy month, with…
No Boundaries Coalition 2019 Gala
On Saturday, November 9, 2019, The No Boundaries Coalition of Central West Baltimore held their annual fundraising gala, with the theme A Royal Unmasking. Since its formation in 2008, No Boundaries has grown from a neighborhood block party in the area of Pennsylvania Avenue near St. Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church, into a nonprofit organization that advocates for the entire Central West Baltimore community. Among their major achievements have been training young people to become community organizers, providing healthy food at The Avenue Market and elsewhere, and being a critical contributor to Baltimore City’s Consent Decree to reform the policies and practices of the Baltimore City Police Department.
At this year’s elegant and festive gala, it was clear that No Boundaries is ready to tackle the challenges awaiting the community in 2020 and beyond. Their newly elected Board President, Lenora Dawson, promises to work together with the Executive Director, Ashiah Parker, and the Coalition’s members and supporters, to continue making Central West Baltimore a stable, healthy, and vital community.
Many of the attendees, including yours truly, wore masks that ranged from magical to bizarre, as we dined, danced, listened to speeches, and watched videos of No Boundaries’ recent activities on a chilly November night at Westminster Hall, home of Edgar Allen Poe’s grave.
For more information on the No Boundaries Coalition, go to https://noboundariescoalition.com/. You can also search baltimoreblackwoman.com for previous stories on this organization.
On Saturday November 16, 2019, I attended an Art to Dine For event, one of a series of dinner + art fundraisers by the Creative Alliance [https://www.creativealliance.org/], a Baltimore organization that supports the work of local artists around the City through events, classes, and programs.
On this night, the event featured a work-in-progress presentation of music from the opera-ballet, Cloud Nebula, the futuristic story of a mighty nation that faces its ruination—and that of its entire planet, after making a cataclysmic power grab. Composer and Librettist Scott Patterson, along with co-writers Preston Andrew Patterson (Choreographer) and Eric T. Styles, has created a fantastic work, blending elements of traditional opera and jazz music forms to tell an imaginative space tale. As explained in the program book, “Cloud Nebula is a creation and production of Afro House [https://www.afrohouse.org/], a Baltimore-based organization that is all about creating Disruptive. Music. Culture.”
The full opera-ballet is expected to premier in 2021.
Bonus: More November Memories – Another Gala and a Speech
This November held two more outings for this normally reserved, quiet baltimoreblackwoman, making this the most social and engaged I’ve been in a single month! It also explains why I embraced a no-frills Thanksgiving weekend at home.
On Tuesday November 19, 2019, I joined leaders, members, and neighbors of Reservoir Hill Improvement Council (RHIC) for their Annual Meeting/Gala celebrating their achievements of this past year. This celebration was held at the Mansion House in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore City’s major public park, which is undergoing extensive rebuilding of its signature Druid Lake and its massive grounds.
My friend and I arrived at the Mansion House in a “catered” bus that traveled around Reservoir Hill, picking up attendees at key spots in the neighborhood. The large, bright, and airy Mansion House was filled with folks dining and chatting, before being seated for an array of speeches and videos recalling RHIC’s past year of service and events, along with a keynote speech about upcoming plans, and another wonderful opportunity to meet folks and learn more about RHIC, which is one of the partner organizations that my community group, In, For, Of, Inc. (IFO), works with in West Baltimore.
baltimoreblackwoman Gives a Speech
Last, but not least, in my role as co-chair of IFO, I gave a 3-minute speech in support of another Reservoir Hill institution, Beth Am Synagogue!
On Sunday, November 17, 2019, I was honored to represent IFO at Beth Am’s Rededication Ceremony celebrating its official reopening after a massive renovation project that took 9 months to complete, after several years of planning.
This association with IFO and Beth Am, and the work I’ve been involved in, over the past 3 years, is the main reason I had the opportunity to participate in all the other events I covered above.
And it is this serendipitous relationship that I am most grateful for, as I say goodbye to November and hello to December. My 2016 article about a visit to Beth Am led to an invitation to join IFO, enabling me to reconnect with my West Baltimore childhood-roots neighborhoods, and helping me to expand and grow both my writing and community activism in Baltimore City.