Tickets are Now on Sale for the WBTT Fall Gala

Arts & Culture

Pictured: WBTT artists lit up the stage during WBTT’s Groovin on the Soul Train' in 2022 Photo by Sorcha Augustine

For Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s 24th anniversary fall gala, “Groovin’ on the Soul Train 2,” the arts organization will - once again, after a smashing success last year - celebrate the music from the #1 television platform for R&B and soul music. The event will feature hip décor and performances by favorite WBTT artists and its sizzling live band. Groovin’ on the Soul Train 2 will take place on Saturday, November 11, 6-9:30 p.m. at the Circus Arts Conservatory’s Sailor Circus Arena (2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota). Guests will enjoy a live performance from WBTT’s singers – including fan favorites Ariel Blue, Tarra Conner Jones, Michael Mendez, Raleigh Mosely II, Leon S. Pitts II, Maicy Powell, Sheldon Rhoden and more – and the WBTT band, with tunes that will help guests to relive memories from “Soul Train’s” peak, including “Freeway of Love,” “Love Train,” “Here I Am Baby,” “It’s Raining Men” and many more. Created by Don Cornelius in 1970, “Soul Train” was the first American music television show to prominently feature Black musical acts and dancers. The hour-long show was originally broadcast in Chicago, Monday through Friday, and replicated a dance-club environment that featured both professional and amateur dancers. After its national syndication, the show’s appeal grew to other ethnicities, introducing many African-American artists to a larger audience. Soul and funk luminaries such as Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, TLC, and many other legendary performers were featured on the show, immensely helping their popularity to grow. During the event, longtime dedicated supporter and board member Cheryl Anderson will be recognized as WBTT’s Heart & Soul Philanthropy honoree. Dinner will be catered by Michael’s On East. The fundraising portion of the evening will feature a matching opportunity: Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation recently awarded a grant of $150,000 to help WBTT mentor and train entry-level personnel critical to continuing the growth and success of the organization; of that amount, $50,000 has been put forth as a challenge match that WBTT will use to inspire fundraising on behalf of this effort during the gala. The live band will be led by Etienne “EJ” Porter, music director and drums; Alan “Duke” Robinson II, main keys; Zacchur Porter, auxiliary keys; Brad Foutch, guitar; and Matthew McKinnon, bass. Co-chairs are Eilene Maupin and Charlie Ann Syprett. Presenting Sponsors are Curtis Jordan and Paige Peterson, and Dona and Sam Scott.Individual tickets, which are now on sale, are $300; visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.

Pictured: WBTT artists lit up the stage during WBTT’s Groovin on the Soul Train' in 2022 Photo by Sorcha Augustine

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