In observance of Black History Month, Ron and Natalie Daise will present dramatic readings from “God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Poems in Verse” by James Weldon Johnson at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., on Saturday, February 21. Programs will be in the Brookgreen Gardens Lowcountry Center Auditorium and are free with Garden admission. Seating must be reserved by calling 235-6016.
Ron Daise, Brookgreen’s Vice President for Creative Education, is an author, performing artist, and cultural preservationist. Natalie Daise is a visual artist, storyteller, and creative catalyst. The Daises are recipients of the 1996 SC Order of the Palmetto and the 1997 State of South Carolina Folk Heritage Award and were stars and cultural consultants of Nick Jr. TV’s “Gullah Gullah Island” of the 1990s.
“The performance is a tribute to African American culture and heritage and includes a cappella selections of Gullah spirituals,” said Ron Daise. “It will appeal to lovers of inspirational writing, scholars of African-American culture, and persons who appreciate great poetry. Although this production is generally performed by a full cast of actors, singers, and musicians, our two-person presentation of the seven sermons and music will be inspirational and enjoyable. We plan to embody the energy, vitality, and culture that James Weldon Johnson envisioned.”
Johnson’s literary creation followed his observance of an absence of attention in folklore studies to what he called a “folk sermon.” His poems are patterned after African-American religious oratory. The title’s use of the trombone addresses the vocal and rhetorical qualities of a preacher he had recently heard who, he felt, exemplified the compelling and persuasive nature of the folk preacher. Johnson named the trombone as “the instrument possessing above all others the power to express the wide and varied range of emotions encompassed by the human voice — and with greater amplitude.” He also cited a dictionary definition that noted the trombone as being the brass instrument most resembling the range and sound of the human voice.
Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark and non-profit organization, is located on U.S. 17 between Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and is open to the public daily. For more information, consult our web site at www.brookgreen.org or call 843-235-6000.