100 Men in Black chorus to perform free show

First Posted: 2/20/2014

PEMBROKE — Most people need a pretty good reason to leave the house.

This Wednesday, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion would like to offer residents 100 of them, with a free performance by Durham’s 100 Men in Black Male Chorus.

The event, which is being co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library of UNCP, the Office for Student Involvement and Leadership, as well as Sodexo, is taking place at the Givens Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m., and is being produced as part of the 2014 National African American Read-In. The Read-In is an annual literacy awareness campaign sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English.

For the past seven years UNCP have held various literacy events during February, Black History Month, as a way of participating in the larger national event.

The school kicked off this year’s series of events last week by having UNCP representatives visit R.B. Dean Elementary in Maxton to hold a children’s book reading with each of the classrooms.

The event will continue on Tuesday, when UNCP faculty members and students will stage a reading of selections from black literature at 6:30 p.m. at UNCP’s Mary Livermore Library, just before Wednesday’s final event — the performance by the 100 Men in Black Male Chorus.

“It is more than just an all-male chorus,” said Robert Canida, director of diversity and inclusion at UNCP. “They address issues of homelessness and drug abuse and there is such a wide range of young men, from different ages and ethnicity.”

The chorus formed in 2003 under the direction of Marlon E. West as an independent community-oriented male chorus, composed of men from all backgrounds who wish to share the Gospel through music.

For Canida, the number of young men represented means that the organization could potentially inspire young people living in Robeson County who see people their own age participating.

“Within our community, within Robeson County, the majority of us know the plight of our young men,” Canida said. “If they were to show up and see these young men in choir as positive role models, I think it will encourage them to reach higher, and achieve more. We hope to see 500 people show up. That would just make my day.”