By Judy Brenna, GACCA Communications Director
Catering & Events Director, Blue Dog Hospitality Group
While I still have my training wheels on, since I am a bit rusty getting back into this, my writing priorities are going to come off a bit mish moshed, so please bear with me. Yes, last week was dedicated to my return. But what I really wanted to talk about for the month of February, was Black History Month, highlighting black-owned businesses and nonprofit organizations in Atlantic Count. So, I am using this week as my impetus for that. This week I want to discuss the Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society.
If you currently preside under a rock and have no idea what R&B is, allow me to illuminate. Rhythm and Blues, frequently abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated within African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to African Americans, at a time when "rocking, jazz-based music " was becoming more popular. Chances are, if you’re a human being, and you have ears, you have listened to, and enjoyed this genre at some point in your life. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… I digress.
What IS the Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society, you ask? The Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society (or RBPS) is a nonprofit music society chapter, based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, founded in 2018 by Mr. Perry Thompson, Founder/Executive Director, with a sole mission to preserve the culture of Black music one record at a time. These angels are committed to spearheading an African American Music Studies in colleges and universities in America as a degree program by 2030. They presented their 1st black music preservation lecture & panel series at Stockton University Department of African American Studies in Atlantic City, on February 21, 2022, proclaimed "The Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society Day" by Former Mayor of Atlantic City and presently Assemblyman Donald J. Guardian, as well as received a Letter of Support from NJ Governor Phil Murphy.
What they are doing for the community is crucial. If you have ever read anything I’ve written in the past, you will know ((that aside from being a colossal nerd and food ogre)), I am an avid lover of all things that have to do with musical and art development. And why? Because studies have proven that music introduced to a child at a young age helps them succeed in academics, namely math and science. Because after all, what is music? Math in symphonic form. Aside from their vast array of programs like their Oral Tradition Project, and International Blues Challenge, they have a fantastic program for the youth, called Instruments for Children. This program started in 2006, in the Rhode Island chapter, to support musical training for students who may not otherwise have been able to afford or participate in music studies, and to keep the African American legacy and tradition of R&B alive for the next generation of aspiring musicians. Since then, they have expanded to a series of participating schools, across multiple states, shaping the minds of our youth. To donate instruments, just contact the RBPS. I have a collection of kazoos and slide whistles they may not necessarily be interested in, but I’m sure they will accept what you can spare. I implore you to checkout their website: https://bluespreservationsociety.org.
Keeping the history and traditions of R&B alive for our youth is paramount, and what better way to celebrate the Youth of R&B than by checking out their showcase, celebrating the Young, Gifted, and Talented Artists in the community, on February 21, 2024, from 2 pm to 4 pm, at the Stanley Holmes Village Community Center, on Adriatic Avenue, in Atlantic City? Also on February 21st, in Camden, NJ, at the Paul Robeson Library, they will be hosting a live Lecture and Performance, by the Queen Diva herself, Rev. Dr. Sonja Elise Freeman. You are guaranteed to be entertained and amazed. Check it out. Celebrate, keep R&B alive, and stay informed. Until next week, friends…