Associate conductor G. Phillip Shoultz will feature 28 Days of Black Excellence during his 9 a.m. daily “Take 5 with GPS” performance series.
VocalEssence will showcase Black achievement in the arts and beyond each day of Black History Month as part of its daily pandemic show, Take 5 with GPS. VocalEssence has long celebrated the contributions of African Americans to our shared American heritage through concerts, recordings, and school programs through its VocalEssence WITNESS program—this special program will expand those educational opportunities.
Termed “28 Days of Black Excellence,” the programming will be led by Take 5 with GPS host, VocalEssence associate conductor and director of learning & engagement programs G. Phillip Shoultz, III. Programming will be available live every day in February at 9 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook, and archived for later viewing.
“I started Take 5 with GPS on March 30 last year at the beginning of the pandemic to build connections even when we can’t all be together,” said G. Phillip Shoultz, also known as GPS. “Our goal is now to make it 365 straight days. On Take 5, we start with a quick exercise, and then add wellness components, poems, and song. I view it as a time for centering, reflecting, and being grateful, plus an opportunity to watch and follow along at home.”
“As special programming for Black History Month, I wanted to focus energy on genius as it exists in the Black community,” added Shoultz. “For each episode, we’ll sing a song that was either written by or made popular by a Black artist and highlight poetry, inspirational thoughts, inventions, and creations by Black entrepreneurs,” he added.
Highlights of the month will include musical selections from spirituals and soul to gospel and R&B. Poets will range from Langston Hughes to Maya Angelou. Black inventors will include Garrett Morgan (traffic light), Sarah Boone (improved ironing board), James E. West (microphone), Lewis Lattimore (carbon lightbulb filament), George Washington Carver (hundreds of products using peanuts) and Mary Van Briton Brown (home security center).
In addition to the daily live streams, the videos will live on the VocalEssence WITNESS School Portal, a FREE online website for teachers with resources and opportunities to learn about well-known African American artists across various disciplines. Included in the portal are video lessons and workshops created by a team of VocalEssence Teaching Artists. Learn more on the VocalEssence WITNESS website.
Sponsor Black Excellence
Each episode and blog post take $250 to create and produce. Consider sponsoring a day or even a week of these amazing entrepreneurs. Episodes will be included in the FREE online WITNESS Portal for teachers around the world. Sponsors will be named in the blog posts on the VocalEssence website. You are encouraged to sponsor in honor of a loved one or a beloved organization. Just add their name in the Dedication section of the donation form.