FORT LAUDERDALE — In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Old Dillard Museum has partnered with Women in Distress of Broward County (WID) and the Broward County Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to present the “You are Beautiful Jazz Concert,” directed by vocalist Nicole Yarling.
The concert, scheduled to take place on March 5, is a part of the “Qwest for Black Citizenship in America” series, which is also Old Dillard’s national Black History Month theme.
“We honor Black History month year round,” said Derek Davis, Old Dillard’s curator, “and in doing so, we wanted to honor women that have done great things.”
Raised in Brooklyn, Yarling studied music at Baruch College and Columbia University. For more than a decade, she has been a part of South
Florida’s musical world as a singer and violinist working in jazz, rock, R&B, experimental music and other styles.
Yarling has performed with jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, vocal legend Joe Williams, and toured as a soloist with Jimmy Buffett.
Funding for the “You are Beautiful’’ project is provided in part by the Broward County Commission, as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council.
The partnership with Women in Distress and CSW, according to Davis, will allow an “open dialogue, as we also want to address the abuse of women and how it needs to stop. If women did not have to face or deal with this type of suffering, they could do and achieve more.
“That’s one of those silent discussions that needs to be brought into the open,” he added.
Yarling, who is also Florida Memorial University’s director of popular music, said that she is “an advocate of trying to help wherever I can. Women, children, people who are victimized—I try and give them a voice. For that reason, I’m glad to be affiliated with this event.”
Mary Riedel, president and CEO of Women in Distress, said she believes the concert will serve as a great community forum to try to spread the message about ending violence against women.
“We will use the time to talk about the issue of domestic violence and the resources that are available in the community to help people,” she said. “We are happy about the partnership and the opportunity to reach out.”
WID’s mission is to provide victims of domestic violence with safe shelter, crisis intervention and resources to educate the community in order to Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE) through intervention, education and advocacy.
CSW became involved in the event as a direct result of its own mission statement, which includes identifying women facing social issues, said Maggie Davidson, chair of the CSW.
“It seemed like a perfect thing to do, especially because of Women’s History Month,” she said.
Davidson also said that if “you’ve been involved in the women’s movement or women’s advocacy for a long time, you are thrilled to see women artists, especially young ones, taking part in or having knowledge of Women’s History Month. We wanted to be a part of it.’’
CSW is dedicated to identifying and resolving economic, health, social and all other issues concerning women’s lives through education and advocacy.
The musicians featured in the event are students from the University of Miami.
“I gathered a group of students and put together a four-piece jazz ensemble with two horns and a vocalist,” Yarling said. “I may sit in with them, but the performance is more about them.”
Yarling said she usually “mixes it up” by gathering students from several campuses. “I wanted to get an all-women’s ensemble, but that didn’t work this time. The power of that would have been more than suitable for this event.”
Many young people play jazz and are interested in jazz music, Yarling noted.
“Oftentimes they play for their peers or may enter a competition,’’ she said. “The older general public does not know that they exist, so my mission is to find work for them, get them in front of others, and perhaps be an inspiration to younger musicians interested in jazz.”
Photo: Nicole Yarling
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “You Are Beautiful Jazz Concert,’’ directed by Nicole Yarling.
WHERE: Old Dillard Museum, Walker Elementary Auditorium, 1009 NW 4th Street, Fort Lauderdale.
WHEN: Thursday, March 5, 6 p.m.
COST: Free and open to the public.
CONTACT: For more information or to RSVP, call 754-322-8828.