The Community Council for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, in partnership with VISIT Kinston, will present a public concert on Friday, April 22 to celebrate the African American Music Trails.
The concert is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Community Council for the Arts located at 400 North Queens Street and will showcase the talents of the former American idol contender Majesty Rose and the Eric Dawson Trio. Both represent the talents of young African American musicians in eastern North Carolina.
The African American Music project celebrates the transformative figures in the history of jazz, gospel and popular music, including Thelonious Monk from Rocky Mount, Billy Taylor from Greensville and Maceo Parker from Kinston. Parker will be recognized as a North Carolina Heritage Award recipient on May 25 in Raleigh.
Eric Dawson, born in Kinston, grew-up in a musical family. From preschool and beyond, Edward Dawson, Eric’s father, would hold jam sessions at his home with some of the local musicians from the Kinston music scene. At the age of 10, Eric began to play keys composing songs on a small keyboard, which later turned into playing and participating in those jam sessions at home on the weekends.
Taking an interest in the origins of soul music Eric explored his father’s record collection and was introduced to the 1970s funk band, Parliament, Idris M., Eric Gale, and one of his heroes on the sax, Grover Washington Jr.
Eric stopped playing music until he went to Elizabeth City State University where he started playing soprano sax in a Jazz and Soul group called the Jazz Connection in Elizabeth City. He later attended North Carolina Central University where he shared the stage with artists such as Fred Wesley, Joe Chambers, Branford Marsalis.
Dawson now spearheads the Wayne County Jazz Showcase held the third Friday of each month at the Arts Council of Wayne County, as part of the African American Music Trails project. The concerts features Dawson and guests artists. He has also participated in previous concerts for the African American Music Trails.
Watch a video of Dawson performing with Branford Marsalis.
Majesty Rose is a Wayne County native and finished in ninth place on the 13th season of the music competition, American Idol. She participated in previous concert for the African American Music Trails project in Goldsboro.
She began writing songs at age ten and taught herself acoustic guitar at age 17. Despite her skills as a singer and guitarist, she has never taken formal lessons. She was a student at Eastern Wayne High School, attended Wayne Community College and was a preschool teacher before appearing on American Idol.
Majesty is a community advocate and is known for serving at multiple churches and volunteering at nursing homes and community outreach projects.
The Community Council for the Arts is located at 400 North Queens Street. For more information call (252) 527-2517 or visit www.kinstoncca.com.
Additional information is also available from the N.C. Arts Council at www.AfricanAmericanMusicNC.com