"Feeling Good - the Nina Simone Story"
A Production of BBC Radio 2 and Sue Clark Productions
BBC Radio 2 TX: 10pm, 4th & 11th January 2011
Listen again on BBC site has expired, but watch this space for update for next broadcast TX (re-read the transcript on SueClarkProductions.com)
Nina Simone Festival Announces Jonathan Green Poster
Anticipation builds about the recently announced Nina Simone World Music Festival, scheduled for 9-11 September 2011 in Tryon, NC. The music festival in the name of Nina Simone includes local, regional and (inter)national talents performing a range of music genres on multiple stages in the North Carolina Blue Ridge birthplace of Simone.
Nina Simone Project (NSP) founder and director Dr. Crys Armbrust released information today detailing the poster for the inaugural festival celebration of the internationally-famed, North Carolina-born singer and activist. The over-sized poster, depicting a powerful image of Simone, features artist Jonathan Green's painting NINA (2009). A limited number of the poster's printing run will be signed by the artist.
Green, highly acclaimed as one of the most important painters of the southern experience, describes his painting thusly: "I approached the creation of 'Nina' as a privilege to express my interpretation of the power, force, passion, and vulnerability of a gifted genius of music and performance." That interpretation, Armbrust asserts, captures, in the words of Green, "the incredible legacy Dr. Nina Simone gave to our culture and heritage."
"The Nina Simone Project," Armbrust continued, "expresses its deep appreciation to Mr. Green for his generous sharing of talent and vision to support the NSP's mission and goals."
Download the full press release here.
Simone Project Receives Polk County Community Foundation Grant
The Eunice Waymon-Nina Simone Memorial Project (NSP) has received a $5,000 grant award from the Unrestricted Fund at the Polk County Community Foundation. Grant monies are specifically designated to the over-life-size bronze sculpture of Nina Simone by Philadelphia-based sculptor Zenos Frudakis.
“We are extremely gratified,” states NSP Executive Director Crys Armbrust, “by this strong show of support by the Polk County Community Foundation’s Board of Directors and the Unrestricted Grants Committee.” Armbrust continues, “Our combined public and private contributions will result in a world-class sculpture of a local Western North Carolina daughter who achieved international fame in a global theatre.”
JET magazine nationally previewed Frudakis’s model for the public art sculpture of Simone in its 9 March issue. The over-life-size representation of a seated Nina Simone has evoked overwhelmingly positive response from viewers.
DOWNBEAT magazine, America’s oldest jazz publication, will profile the NSP and the Simone sculpture in its upcoming August 2009 issue.
For further information about the NSP and how you can participate in its sculpture project, see www.ninasimoneproject.org.
Carolina Foothills Nina Simone scholar recognized by Oxford
Roderick Williams, the renowned London-born operatic baritone and composer, concludes his ‘Oxford Blues Service’ with an uplifting hymn arrangement of “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free,” a tune written by Billy Taylor and recorded by Nina Simone—both prominent North Carolinians.
As the Schola Cantorum of Oxford premiered Williams’s innovative jazz setting of the Anglican Choral Evensong in June 2006, at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, High Street, Oxford, England, audience members couldn’t anticipate that yet another American ‘rising star’ would soon be among them in the rarified educational mix of Oxford’s High Street—one who also has ties, both to North Carolina and Nina Simone.
Megan Elizabeth Miller is that rising star, and, among her numerous awards and honors, she bears the distinction of being the very first recipient of the Nina Simone Senior Scholarship. Based in Simone’s birthplace, Tryon, NC, the Nina Simone Project (www.ninasimoneproject.org) sponsors two general scholarships each year, open to applicants worldwide. Awards may be used for both formalized academic study and ancillary cultural enrichment opportunities.
Miller, the daughter of Tryonite Brenda B. Miller and a 2003 graduate of Polk County High School, will graduate summa cum laude from UNC-Asheville in May 2009 with a B.A. in Classics, focusing on Greek and Latin language and literature. Following graduation, she will enter Oxford University’s two-year graduate M.Phil. (Master of Philosophy) program.
Nina Simone Project Executive Director Crys Armbrust cites Ms. Miller’s “impressive undergraduate achievements as the determining factor in her successful admission to Oxford University, the world’s oldest and foremost academic institution in the English-speaking world, which traces its foundation to the end of the 12th century.”
While at Oxford, Miller hopes to be affiliated with either Corpus Christi College (founded 1517) or Lincoln College (founded 1427). She will continue to focus her graduate program of study on Greek and Latin literature in their original languages, as well as the more technical subjects of papyrology and textual criticism. The medieval scholia to Herodotus are another research interest. Miller’s researches will be conducted in the Duke Humphrey Reading Room of Oxford's central research library, the Bodleian, founded by Sir Thomas Bodley in 1598, whose 8 million volumes make it the second-largest library in the UK, after the British Library.
The Nina Simone Project and its Scholarship committee commend Megan Elizabeth Miller for her unrelenting pursuit of intellectual excellence, citing, in the words of poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, that she continue ever forward “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
NB: Billy Taylor’s 1954 holograph manuscript of “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free” and Nina Simone’s 1967 vocal cover of the tune for RCA Victor Recording have been designated ‘American Treasures of the Library of Congress.’
NSP Executive Director Crys Armbrust discusses the Nina Simone Project on WNCW FM 88.7 ‘NPR Morning Edition’ with host Pam Bunch. (See ‘Multimedia’ page.)
JET magazine previews the NSP’s Nina Simone sculpture by Zenos Frudakis in its March 2-9, 2009 issue. The magazine’s cover features India Arie, who portrayed Nina Simone in NBC’s miniseries ‘American Dreams.’ (See ‘Archives’ page under ‘Periodical Press Notices’ for a downloadable PDF)
Nina Simone Project Previews Sculpture
Click photos to enlarge
The Eunice Waymon-Nina Simone Memorial Project (www.ninasimoneproject.org) released photographs today of the model in progress for a memorial sculpture depicting the legendary chanteuse Nina Simone. The over-life-size bronze sculpture of Simone, by Philadelphia-based sculptor Zenos Frudakis, is planned as part of a public art installation in Tryon, NC, birthplace of the world-renown singer and human rights’ activist who came to be known as the High Priestess of Soul.
Crys Armbrust, Ph.D., founder and executive director of the Nina Simone Project (NSP), remarks that “we are extraordinarily gratified by the positive response to each of the NSP’s memorial efforts—scholarship, sculpture and music festival.” Regarding the sculpture and its sculptor, Armbrust continues, “we are fortunate, as well, to have assembled an excellent team to accomplish this important phase of our endeavor.”
Zenos Frudakis’s work appears in numerous art collections both in the US and abroad. Notable commissions include the Honor Guard at the National Air Force Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, Freedom at the GSK World Headquarters in Philadelphia, PA, and Martin Luther King at the US Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.
Frudakis’s enthusiasm for this commission is evident in his comments following. “I am delighted to share in the creation of a lasting tribute to jazz legend Nina Simone. In addition to being a fan of her work, as an artist, it is especially pleasing for me to be given this opportunity to honor another artist.”
The highly-acclaimed sculptor Frudakis is joined in this effort by Nina Simone’s daughter Lisa Simone Kelly, known to many as a seasoned musical performer in her own right. Her credits include lead roles in such Broadway productions as Aida, Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables. Kelly, who performs under the single name Simone, is now on tour to promote the release of her tribute CD “Simone on Simone.”
“Lisa Simone Kelly,” Armbrust reports, “has played an integral role in the creative process, and her participation has made our efforts all the more meaningful. Beyond her valuable commentary on earlier versions of the bust study, she graciously continued on to pose for Frudakis’s full scale study of her mother. So, what we have here is, in point of fact, indeed Simone on Simone—a legend and a legacy combined together in tribute to one who was and is a powerful musical force in a global theatre and an icon of human potential realized.”
For further information about the Nina Simone Project, see www.ninasimoneproject.org.
Nina Simone Scholarship 2008 Winners Announced! Click here for details.