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Reggie Harris to appear Saturday at Thoreau Woods Coffeehouse

Internationally acclaimed Reggie Harris to headline Thoreau Woods Coffeehouse Saturday night

Thoreau Woods Coffeehouse will host an internationally acclaimed singer, song-writer and civil rights activist Saturday, Oct. 20. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and music begins at 7 p.m.

Singer /songwriter Reggie Harris has been a vital part of the international folk and acoustic music family for over 40 years.

Wayne Greene will open for Harris. he brings more than 40 years of performing to the stage with a mixed bag of folk, pop, blues, and ragtime songs. Originally from Louisiana where he played in rock bands in the ’60s, Wayne has been
based in Texas playing acoustically in coffeehouses, clubs, colleges, and festivals since the early ’70s. He writes songs about people, real or imagined, that tell a story. His conversational style makes him accessible to the audience. He does like to slip a
hit from the 60s, a 40s swing tune, or sometime a song from the ragtime era into his set.

As one half of the duo, Kim and Reggie Harris, he traveled the world spreading hope and light to audiences of all ages. Reggie is consummate musician, a Kennedy Center teaching artist, a Woodrow Wilson Scholar and the music education director for the UU Living Legacy Project, an organization that leads pilgrimages to sites of the Modern Civil Rights movement throughout the South.

Now launched on a solo career, Reggie continues to earn wide acclaim and standing ovations from audiences and peers throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. With the release of his  chart topping CD  “Ready to Go” Reggie has staked a new claim as a song leader, an insightful songwriter and an activist for global peace and justice.

Harris’s cultural background as an African-American is a major component of his repertoire. Spirituals and gospel songs are liberally incorporated in his work. He and his wife have earned reputations  respected in scholastic circles for their presentations on black history for teachers and students alike, as affiliates with the AIE Programming at The Kennedy Center.

 

Their best known recording, Steal Away: Songs of the Underground Railroad(1998), is a much-used teaching tool during the annual Black History Month, and serves as the backbone of their “Music and the Underground Railroad” workshop, and is a staple educational aid in many American historical museums. The CD’s sequel, Get On Board! Underground Railroad & Civil Rights Freedom Songs, Volume 2, was released to enthusiastic response in 2008.

 

Yet no one who has seen the married duo of Kim and Reggie Harris in their hundreds of yearly folk-oriented performances, heard their spirited, purposeful CDs, or learned about the Underground Railroad and Black History through their special concerts and teacher training seminars would believe the upbeat couple was simultaneously battling Reggie’s ever-worsening, life-threatening autoimmune disease, which required a new liver. After 13 years, he was running out of time, but in 2008, Reggie was given new life when a liver donor became available.

The Harrises’ 2012 CD, Resurrection Day answers the question, “What happened next?” The CD not only continues the duo’s commitment to recording uplifting songs of optimism, activism, and social justice, but it also presents eight new Reggie originals bursting with reinvigorated purpose. Written in the aftermath of his liver transplant and ongoing recovery, Reggie found his songs had “deepened in theme, subject matter, and in musical tone . . . they’re more direct but more personal.”

Reggie has taken a leadership position on the board of the Living Legacy Pilgrimage  where he has collaborated with a team of Unitarian ministers in leading eight-day intensive bus tours of the 1963 Freedom Riders and  Civil Rights historic sites from Birmingham, Alabama, to Memphis, Tennessee and points in between. With every tour group, Reggie gains as much knowledge and inspiration as he shares in his presentations.

The event is held at Thoreau Woods Unitarian Universalist Church, 1400 East Mosley Lane off Highway 75 South, Huntsville. Suggested donations are $20 per person, $15 for seniors and students. Light refreshments are available for purchase and discreet BYOB of beeer and wine is permitted for those of age.

Harris also will present a service Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. for Thoreau Woods Unitarian Universalist Church.  The public is invited.

About Rich Heiland

Rich Heiland, former publisher of the Huntsville Item and owner of Free Press publications, LLC, a reporting/writing firm working with media, has been a reporter, editor and publisher at several daily papers. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team. He taught journalism at Western Illinois University. He can be reached at freepresstx@gmail.com or 936-293-0293.

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