Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) dancers joined the Lee Chapel Group in the audience after the show. Photo provided

Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) dancers joined the Lee Chapel Group in the audience after the show. Photo provided

By Marvel Gentry Harmon 

Herald Contributor

Lee Chapel AME Church’s 120th anniversary fundraising committee celebrated with the Cincinnati Arts Association’s building diverse audiences advisory committee at the opening night of Dance Theatre of Harlem at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in May.

The evening started with a pre-show VIP reception, which was hosted by the building diverse audiences advisory committee (BDAAC) of the Cincinnati Arts Association and attended by Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) officials and committee members along with dozens of people from the Lee Chapel Group and the Cincinnati community.

Steve Loftin, CAA executive director and board member, and Steve Dobbins, BDAAC chair, welcomed the reception guests. Virginia Johnson, DTH artistic director, and Keith Saunders, ballet master, described the history and mission of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and introduced the works that would be performed.

The Lee Chapel building diverse audiences advisory committee members (BDAAC), from left, are, Davette Shorter, Grace Shorter, Marvel Gentry Harmon and Evelyn Sears. Photos provided

It was a stellar evening of dance, according to event organizers. The DTH company of 16 racially diverse dance artists performed an eclectic, demanding repertoire of treasured classics and neo-classical works by choreographers George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, Dianne McIntyre and Darrell Grand Moultrie to classical, jazz and traditional vocal music performed by the Spelman College Glee Club.  After the performance ballet masters Keith and Kellye A. Saunders, and several dancers joined the Lee Chapel group in the audience.  One audience member said, “It was an exhilarating experience.”  

Lee Chapel AME Church, at 2009 Pogue St. in Cincinnati, announced its yearlong celebration of 120 years of ministry and community service in O’Bryonville, Evanston and Walnut Hills. It is inviting the Greater Cincinnati Community to join the celebration. Led by Pastor Kevin Cooper, the anniversary theme is “Remembering our Past and Reveling in Our Future,” based on the theme scripture Joshua 4:20-24.

The church plans a series of community events to celebrate its 120th anniversary and extend its ministry through evangelism and community service.  Events include theater outings; a celebrity golf outing; four weeks of free softball clinics for community youth, culminating in a community softball game between the Lee Chapel All-Stars and the Cincinnati Sentinel Police Association; fashion show extravaganza; monthly family movie nights; fish fry events; a parade and kick-off event; a revival; concert featuring gospel recording artist “The Prince of Praise” Byron Cage; a celebration banquet and anniversary Sunday service program and dinner.

Visit and the church’s Facebook Page at more information and updates.

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