Martin Luther King day was Monday. An annual celebration is held on the downtown plaza, preceding by a a ceremony at the Martin Luther King Garden nearby. The crowd on the plaza was huge, the largest that I have seen.

 A program, hosted by Rodney long was held on the main stage:



 I just voted (2:30 p.m.)in the Gainesville City Commission runoff in At Large Seat 1 at precinct 32,  which is down the street from where I live. I voted for Harvey Budd and was the 94th voter. That is not too bad for a runoff, but it is still rather slow, so we must pick it up. The sun is out people! No rain is within a few hundred miles on the radar, so get out and vote! If turnout is too low, Jay Curtis might sneak onto the commission. The last thing we need is a third commissioner beholden to developers. 

We also have a runoff in District 1 over on the East side. Re-electing Yvonne Hinson-Rawls is also important.

To sum, people, GET OUT AND VOTE!


Early voting started on Monday in the runoffs for two Gainesville City Commission seats. Election Day is April 14.

For the At-Large seat I endorse Harvey Budd. He and Adrian Hayes-Santos, who finished third, split progressive endorsements. Budd,s endorsements now run the liberal gamut and include Hayes-Santos’s.

His opponent, Jay Curtis, has been endorsed by the Gainesville Builders Association and gets much of his money from businesses and developers. Right-wingers Tony Domenech and Nathan Collier have contributed to his campaign.

The choice is crystal clear: Harvey Budd is the progressive option for this seat.

In the District 1 race, Yvonne-Hinson-Rawls is the progressive choice despite a disappointing vote on the widening of eigth avenue.


image image I got home from the concert almost two hours ago. The cover of the program and the list of pieces within are posted above. Both performances went well. The sanctuary was packed for first one in the afternoon and half full for the second one at night. Both lasted about one hour and twenty minutes and drew standing ovations. We all loved singing for the audience. I greatly look forward to our next concerts in the spring. rehearsals begin in January.

Voices Rising Concert Tomorrow (Sunday Nov. 16)

  • imageThe Voices Rising Chorus of Gainesville is giving two concerts tomorrow (Sunday November 16 ) at 3:oo p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church on 419 NE 1st Street in Gainesville, Florida (downtown).

The program includes a mix of  pieces by the full chorus (115 strong), by the women, by the men, ensembles, and solos. The full chorus will perform eight(8) pieces:


  •   “We are the Music Makers,” poem by Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessey (1884-1881) set to music by Victor C. Anderson;
  • “O Music”, poem by Kahlil Gibran set to music by David L. Bruner;
  • “Banquet Fugue,” music by John Rutter (part of a larger work called “The Reluctant Dragon” ) and lyrics by David Grant;
  • “Sic Locutus Est,” by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (from Magnificat BWV 243);
  • “How Lovely are the Messengers,” music by Felix Mendelsson Bartholdy (1809-1847) (from “Saint Paul”) and lyrics from Romans, 10:15 (edited by Dr. Archibald T. Davison);
  • “All Ye Who Music Love, ” a madrigal for mixed voices by Baldassare Donato (1548-12) and edited by Augustus D. Zanzig;
  • “The Seal Lullaby,” a poem by Rudyard Kipling (from a short story of the same name) set to music by Eric Whitacre. This piece was written as a part of an animated feature that was to be made of the story, but “Kung Fu Panda” was made instead. The piece was featured in the 2008 motion picture “The Wrestler.;
  • “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” (from the motion picture and Broadway musical “The Lion King”) music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice;

The women (altos and sopranos of the choir) will perform two pieces as a section:

  • “Altos’ Lament,” music by Zina Goldrich and lyrics by Marcy Heisler;
  • “Iraqi Peace Song,” (a lullaby told by a mother to a child) solo arrangement by Knut Reiersrud, choral arrangement by Lori Tennenhouse with a solo in Arabic and accompanied by cello;

The men (tenors, baritones, and bases) also perform two pieces as a section:

  • “Inscription of Hope,” an inscription on put on the wall of a cologne cellar by Jewish people hiding in World War II set to the music of a Russian folk song by J. Randall Stroope”
  • “We Sail the Ocean Blue,” (from the operetta H.M.S Pinafore) music by Sir Arthur Sullivan, lyrics by William S. Gilbert;

Additionally a small ensemble will sing John Ono Lennon’s immortal song “Imagine” accompanied by guitar. Several solos will also be on the program. This is the third concert date for Voices Rising, which first start rehearsals in September 2013 with 70 members and has grown to 115. Ruth Lewis is the music director and conductor.

The Cotton Club

This past Sunday we members of  the Phoenix Rising Unitarian. Universalist affiliate (not a congregation) were privileged to be given a presentation by a representative of  the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center, which is located at 837 SE 8th Avenue here in Gainesville. The museum is housed in the renovated former home of the Cotton Club, dance and music hall which hosted such African-Artists as Cab Calloway.

The Cotton Club, like its namesake in New York City, was part of a network of African-American performance venues located  throughout the country during the early twentieth century known as the Chitlin Circuit. This group of sites acquired the name because, since the performers did not have a place to stay, each venue had to be located where a lodging was available for African-Americans. Gainesville was included because it had the Dunbar Hotel.

The Dunbar Hotel, located on 732 NW 4th Street, was Gainesville’s only African-American Hotel in the first half of the twentieth century. Musicians who played at the Cotton Club stayed there. It has been renovated on the original site, but is NOT open for tours. It currently exists as Pleasant Place, which is a home for single mothers and their children.