New Mexico’s second annual Juneteenth Jazz Art Festival kicks off June 14

Leaving the town of Las Cruces

The Branigan Cultural Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate, New Mexico Music Commissioner Derrick Lee, and the Doña Ana County NAACP and Doña Ana Arts Council present the second New Mexico Juneteenth Jazz Arts Festival.

Festival events are scheduled from Tuesday, June 14, 2022 through Sunday, June 19, 2022. Unless otherwise stated, admission to events is free to the public.

For a full list of events and additional details, visit https://www.las-cruces.org/2564/Juneteenth-2022.

Festival organizer and New Mexico Music Commissioner Derrick Lee describes the festival as a way to “celebrate, educate and create both community and awareness around this newly and officially recognized national holiday. – which is one of the oldest in America. We do this through black American music (American classical music) widely known as jazz.

“This music is rooted in traditions of improvisational expression, storytelling and community, and has a rich history that has shaped our nation. This music is alive, and as it evolves, it continues to make us evolve. Jazz history is black history. Jazz history is American history.

Juneteenth Jazz Arts Festival events include:

tuesday june 14A virtual concert, starting at 5:15 p.m., will be performed by Jacobo Vega-Albela Group. The concert will be accessible on Zoom.us with the webinar ID: 82056965925.

A free screening of the film “Bird,” starring Forest Whitaker, begins at 7 p.m. at the Rio Grande Theater, 211 N. Main St. Doors open at 6 p.m. The Branigan Cultural Center will present the film.

Wednesday June 15At 5:30 p.m., the Branigan Cultural Center presents “The History of Juneteenth as an American Celebration of Freedom.” Roy Collins III, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer of NMSU, will present the program virtually.

Following the presentation, Reggie Lewis and Simply This Quartet will perform a virtual concert. Both events will be accessible on Zoom.us with webinar ID: 82056965925.

Thursday June 16Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the Smithsonian-affiliated Branigan Cultural Center will present “Jazz History,” a virtual presentation by James K. Zimmerman, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History Senior Producer.

Following the presentation, Joe Dunn Chamber Fusion Ensemble will perform a virtual concert. Both events will be accessible on Zoom.us with webinar ID: 82056965925.

friday june 17Jazz musician, Derrick Lee will lead a jazz improvisation workshop from 4-5 p.m. at the Doña Ana Arts Council, 250 W. Amador Ave. No prior registration or experience is necessary. Participants are encouraged to bring their instruments. Backline will be provided.

The opening concert of the New Mexico Juneteenth Jazz Arts Festival, featuring the band Billy Townes, will be at 7 p.m. at the Rio Grande Theater, 211 N. Main St. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Saturday June 18A free screening of Disney Pixar’s “Soul” will be held at noon at the Rio Grande Theater, 211 N. Main St. Doors open at 11 a.m. The Branigan Cultural Center will present the film.

Musical performances for the New Mexico Juneteenth Jazz Arts Festival begin at 1 p.m. at Plaza de Las Cruces, 100 N. Main St. Performances will include Las Cruces Community Jazz from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Side Effect Quartet from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and Havana Quintet from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Musical performances will continue at the June 19 NAACP Banquet at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 650 E. University Ave. The banquet will also include a keynote address by Dr. Patrick Turner, Associate Vice President of NMSU. Advance purchase of banquet tickets is required through the Doña Ana NAACP website at https://naacpdac.org.

Sunday June 19The New Mexico Juneteenth Jazz Arts Festival continues at 1 p.m. at Plaza de Las Cruces, 100 N. Main St. Shows will include Jazz Diversion by Sam Barlow from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Encore Jazz from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and Alliance Project from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The New Mexico Juneteenth Jazz Arts Festival will conclude with a final concert at 7 p.m. at the Rio Grande Theater, 211 N. Main St. The concert will feature the Ricky Malachai Trio and the Derrick Lee Group. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

The Branigan Cultural Center, 501 N. Main St., can be reached via RoadRUNNER Transit Route 1, Stop 1. Visit the website at: https://www.las-cruces.org/museums or follow Las Cruces Museums on Facebook and Instagram @LCMuseums.

For more information, contact Stephanie Hawkins, the museum’s acting director, at 575/541-2160 or by email at [email protected]


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Reggie S. Williams