Performing Arts: Howard Theatre ‘Friendraiser’

by patrickmccoy

The historic arts venue hosted a series of preview events leading up to second annual gala. 

Soprano Marlissa Hudson performed selections from her upcoming recording “Lust” at the recent Howard Theatre “friendraiser.” (Photo by Studio H Images)

There is no mistaking the sense of renewal and pride that surrounds the glorious revival of the historic Howard Theatre, the historic arts landmark that launched the careers of distinguished musicians such as Duke EllingtonElla FitzgeraldMarvin Gaye and The SupremesAfter a 32-year hiatus and a $29 million renovation, it re-opened last spring in grand style, featuring an array of concerts and celebratory events. Continuing the rich tradition of musical performances, the landmark venue will host several preview events leading up to its second annual gala. 

Recently, Howard Theatre board of trustees chairman Reginald Van Lee, along with Ty Boyea-Robinson, hosted the first ‘friendraiser’ in efforts to garner support in advance of the upcoming gala. Roy “Chip” Ellis,  who was instrumental in the reconstruction efforts, gave remarks and further insight on the evolution of the theatre. Invited guests were treated to a fare of appetizers and sumptuous buffet meal. Featured as the guest artist for this kick-off event was Washington-based soprano Marlissa Hudson.

Hudson is a musician known on the local music scene, having appeared with such noted ensembles as Choralis and often in recital with accompanist Marvin Mills. At home both on the operatic and concert stage, she made her professional debut performing “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Pops Orchestra under the baton of the late Marvin Hamlisch. She later performed the entire role of Bess with Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis.  Her performance at the Howard Theatre highlighted selections from her latest recording entitled “Lust.” Hudson is perhaps the first singer to present a full classical musical presentation at the renovated venue.

The second annual gala and benefit concert will take place on April 19 at 7:30 p.m. Click here for sponsorship opportunities.

Recently named among the Forty Under 40 for his contributions to arts and humanities, Patrick D. McCoy received a B.M. in vocal performance from Virginia State University and an M.M. in church music from the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va.  He has contributed arts and culture pieces to CBS Washington, The Afro-American Newspaper and the newly published book, “In Spite of the Drawbacks” (Association of Black Women Historians), which includes his chapter on legendary soprano Leontyne Price.  McCoy  has interviewed some of the most acclaimed artists of our  time, including Renée FlemingDenyce Graves, Norman Scribner, Julian Wachner, Christine Brewer and Lawrence  Brownlee.   Listen to these interviews and others  at Blog Talk Radio. McCoy may be reached via email at and on Twitter @PatrickDMcCoy.


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