13th Annual Juneteenth Celebration Honors the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln

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juneteenth-long-beachThe west coast premiere of the Bicentennial Symphony, will be the highlight of the 13th Annual Juneteenth event this year “Celebrating the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln” – on Saturday, June 13, from 12 to 5 p.m., at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave. Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine; Partners of Parks; the Central Area Association; and 6th District Councilmember Dee Andrews will be presenting the event. The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Committee, a federal agency, has endorsed the event.

The Bicentennial Symphony was written by composer Roy Harris, and is a powerful musical statement on U.S. history and slavery. It has not been performed since the 1976 premiere at the Kennedy Center by the National Symphony Orchestra to celebrate our nation’s 200th birthday. The new MusicUntold Orchestra & Chorale will perform the symphony. Joseph R. Taylor, conductor of the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra will conduct, and Zanaida Robles, choral director at Los Angeles High School for the Arts will lead the chorale. Also performing at Juneteenth will be international blues artist Mighty Mo Rodgers with The New Bluez. Grammy nominated and UCLA professor Dr. Bobby Rodriguez will close the celebration with Latin Jazz and dancing. Leo Stallworth, ABC7, will act as master of ceremonies for the event.

The Juneteenth 2009 celebration will be an open-air festival with live musical performances, food and merchandise vendors, a Health & Safety Fair and a spectacular children’s area with games, crafts, jumpers and much more. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets for seating. The Press Telegram, LA Metro, Long Beach Transit, Southern California Edison, Long Beach Redevelopment Agency, McDonald’s, KUSC Classical Radio, International Realty & Investments, and Long Beach City College/Pacific Coast Campus are major contributors of this event.

Juneteenth Celebrations started on June 19, 1865, when word reached the people of Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the proclamation freeing slaves two years earlier on January 1, 1863. Jubilation over this news turned into annual celebrations and homecomings for those who had been separated from their families and friends. These annual celebrations became known as Juneteenth.

For more information on the Juneteenth Celebration, call (562) 570-4405.

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