CONGRESSMAN’S SONS TO OPEN FIRST PARK SLOPE ARTS FESTIVAL ON SEP 17 WITH TRIBUTE PERFORMANCE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
CONGRESSMAN’S SONS TO OPEN FIRST
PARK SLOPE ART FESTIVAL WITH TRIBUTE PERFORMANCE
Sons of the late Congressman Major Owens will make their Brooklyn debut as "OBB – The Owens Brothers Band" and the “opening act” for the new free arts festival, ArtSlope, this Saturday, September 17. OBB will be performing from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm next to The Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn, between 3rd and 4th Streets on 5th Avenue adjacent to Middle School 51.
This band performance, featuring original social justice-oriented works, will be dedicated to the memory of Congressman Owens, who would have been 80 years old this year.
“I am honored and proud that we are introducing ourselves to Brooklyn officially at a local arts festival,” said Chris Owens. “My father, Major Owens, was an advocate for the arts and arts education … and he would be thrilled.”
The leader of OBB is Chris Owens, a long-time musician, public servant, and President of the non-profit Central Brooklyn Martin Luther King Commission. His brother, Geoffrey Owens, plays guitar and viola in the band and sings. Geoffrey is an actor, director and Shakespearean scholar best known as “Elvin” on The Cosby Show. Youngest brother Millard "Mitty" Owens plays percussion and also sings. The brothers have strong ties to Park Slope, having attended Slope schools and youth groups. Congressman Owens represented the Slope in the U.S. House of Representatives for several years, and mother Ethel Owens gave piano lessons to many Slope residents over the course of two decades.
Other Park Slope residents play with the band, including cellist Barry Kornhauser and vocalist Kelly Skaller. Additional performers include Brooklynites Selah Eric Spruiell, on vocals and percussion, and vocalist Wendy Ward, as well as bass player Darryl Clark, guitarist Ned Matura, keyboardist Jay Katz and drummer Jonathan Hoffman.
OBB - Owens Brothers Band was officially launched in 2014 during SEEGERFEST, a celebration of the work and lives of Pete and Toshi Seeger. The fledgling group performed at three venues during that festival, including the tribute concert at Lincoln Center. Since then, OBB has performed at benefit concerts and clubs. The repertoire includes original songs advocating peace and justice such as “Save The Children”, “Peace Like A River”, “Man O’War”, “My Street”, “Poverty Sucks”, “Love Is The Way” and “Do Not Go Gently,” as well as some cover tunes.
“Our mother, Ethel Owens, gave us the passion for music and our Dad was our drum major for justice,” said Chris Owens. “We took classical, folk, rock, pop and soul music and have been building our sound for decades. Unfortunately, it was our father’s passing in 2013, followed closely by the deaths of Nelson Mandela and Pete Seeger that inspired us to work together, rather than separately.”
ArtSlope, a free arts festival taking place from Saturday, September 17th through Sunday, September 25th at various locations throughout Park Slope, will showcase the work of over 150 artists from across many disciplines in order to celebrate the diverse creative community of New York City.
The festival, sponsored by the Park Slope Civic Council, will feature a variety of events, including music, dance, artist panels and workshops, installations, paintings, film and photography. Events will be held at a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues.
Be there! :)
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