Contact: Madeleine Wright

January 28, 2019


Tel: 505-303-0335


Black History Month Inspirational Dance Contest

for Middle and High School students

SANTA FE, N. M. – To kick off its second year of activities, the Santa Fe Soul Festival (SFSF) will honor Black History Month with an Inspirational Dance Contest for Middle and High School students, February 23, 2019, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Railyard Performance Center.  

The successful launching of the Santa Fe Soul Festival in August 2018 strongly supports its much-anticipated programming for this 2019 year.  By offering a dance contest to take place during Black History Month, the SFSF fulfills one of its educational purposes:  to encourage the participation of Middle and High School students in the exploration and showcasing of their talents.  Dance, in this case inspirational dance, is an artistic medium that brings people together, invites them to move to a common rhythm, and touch their deeper and shared humanity.  

“By rewarding area dance students with certificates of appreciation, free dance classes, and cash prizes for choreographing and performing dances to gospel music, we hope to contribute to the appreciation of African American culture in a more in-depth way”, says Madeleine Wright, the SFSF Board President.  

At the same time, the SFSF seeks to create a thread of continuity with different artistic activities to unite people in an atmosphere of learning and joy following its inaugural gospel music choir concert of August 2018.  The winner(s) of the inspirational dance contest will perform in this year’s SFSF gospel concert, the last week of August, as a part of the city of Santa Fe’s newly created Music Week.

For interviews or additional information, please contact Madeleine Wright at or 505-303-0335.

Did you see us in the ABQJournal?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                 Contact: Nyala Nolen
June 15, 2018                                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                                                 phone:   917-312-4076

Kicks off with Gospel Choir Concert

SANTA FE, N.M. – A much anticipated initiative to showcase African American arts and culture has been created to enhance the city’s diversity and multi-cultural character.  The Santa Fe Soul Festival, SFSF, kicks-off on Sunday, August 12th with a free lecture and a gospel concert at the First Presbyterian Church.

“A group of Santa Fe residents have joined together with the mission to educate the Santa Fe Community about African American arts and culture by presenting exemplary programs annually”, said Madeleine Wright, president of the SFSF’s  Board of Directors. This new non-profit is the only organization in Santa Fe with a mission of this nature and will be a unique addition to the cultural landscape.

The SFSF group has already developed a three-year expansion plan, and will introduce their initiative this coming August with a free lecture about the African influences on the Black Church, followed by a gospel concert.  The lecture will be offered by Shani Sterling and Ikechi Ojore; the concert, by the thrilling God's House Church Choir of Albuquerque and featuring opera singer Elliott Paige.

Shani Sterling is currently a dance professor at Houston Community College.  Her primary focus is on African and Diasporic dance, and how African American culture has retained elements from its roots, which can be seen in the music, style of dress, food, and dance.

Ikechi Ojore, a native of Houston, is an internationally recognized multi-instrumentalist/percussionist who has travelled the world with artists such as Brian McKnight and Chante Moore.  He is also an educator, committed to keeping music education thriving among youth. 

Tenor Elliott Paige, from Hampton, Virginia holds a MM in Opera Performance from Manhattan School of Music and a BM in Vocal Performance from James Madison University. Elliott recently made his European debut on tour in Germany singing Robbins and Crab Man Porgy and Bess. Recent credits include the Young Artist programs at Palm Beach Opera covering Governor/Ragotski Candide, Spoletta Tosca, Borsa and singing Uscire Rigoletto; The Glimmerglass Festival performing Giacomo L'assedio di Calais; and Opera Theater of Saint Louis premiering Bombur Yarmbazal Shalimar the Clown while covering Malcolm Macbeth. Other credits include: Second Priest and First Armored Man The Magic Flute, Duncan in Bloch's Macbeth, and the title role in Haydn's Orlando Paladino.

Wright is launching this initiative along with a group of artists and/or supporters of the arts, all of them very interested in contributing to the breaking of cultural barriers.  They want to promote and facilitate the knowledge of how the African American presence in this country has permeated so much of what we love, move to, hum, hear, and appreciate in a multi-sensory way. 

Interviews with the artists, choir director, and SFSF Board members can be scheduled through Nyala Nolen.

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Artist videos


God’s House Church Choir

Uploaded by King Elliott on 2018-07-18.
2017 Drumming: Senam Ayiku Choreographic Arrangement: Shani Sterling