Family Concert at Hylton Performing Arts Center Commemorates Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted: January 7, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: January 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Tom Teasley, left, and Charles Williams, also known as Word-Beat.

Word-Beat, a duo that combines the artistry of singer-actor Charles Williams and global-jazz percussionist Tom Teasley, will appear at the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Gregory Family Theater as part of the Encore Events on Saturday, Jan. 15,  at 3 p.m.

Presented in commemoration of the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., this stirring program features Williams delivering spirited readings of inspirational texts by such authors and leaders as Langston Hughes and Nelson Mandela.

Teasley’s masterful blend of ethnic percussion and cutting-edge electronics showcases the music of Africa, the West and beyond.

Williams and Teasley have brought their moving concerts to a variety of prestigious performance venues and educational institutions, including the Lincoln Center Institute for Aesthetic Education, the Kennedy Center, the Eastman School of Music, the Brooklyn School of Music, the East Coast Jazz Festival and the Atlas Performing Arts Center, among others.

The ensemble has released two critically acclaimed CDs: “Poetry, Prose, Percussion and Song,” which interprets the words of Langston Hughes and James Weldon Johnson with spirituals from the Deep South, and “Soul Dances,” which features African proverbs and traditional African-American spirituals.

Hailing from Louisiana, Williams has won international acclaim since his debut at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He has performed in theaters and opera houses across Europe, and at Carnegie Hall, the Barns at Wolf Trap, the Smithsonian Institute, the Kennedy Center and the Metropolitan Opera, where he appeared as Sportin’ Life in “Porgy and Bess.”

Williams is on the faculty of the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., and currently serves as a vocal consultant for the a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Teasley is highly regarded in the world percussion arena as a recording artist and a clinician, and holds the unique distinction of having presented at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention on three separate occasions.

Teasley has appeared as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles World Music Festival and at the Kennedy Center as an artist-in-residence. He has served as the chair of the percussion department at the Levine School of Music and currently serves on the faculty of the University of the District of Columbia.

Tickets are $15 (general admission). To purchase tickets, visit the box office, charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus at 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va., 20110. Free parking is available in the lot next to the Hylton Center.

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