Scan the QR code to purchase your tickets for the dinner and theatre show, "Of Ebony Embers - Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance," scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15, in Lehman Auditorium.

EMU celebrates Black History Month with a full slate of events

Join Eastern Mennonite University in celebrating Black History Month with a series of programs themed around “Honoring the Black in Us” and planned by Multicultural Student Services.

This story has been updated to reflect the change in venue for the soul food dinner on Thursday, Feb. 15.

Dinner + Theatre

The signature event of Black History Month will feature a dinner and theatre show on Thursday, Feb. 15. 

A soul food dinner will be held in the President’s Reception Room in University Commons starting at 5 p.m. (The same meal will be served in the dining hall for dinner that day). Then, at 6:30 p.m. in Lehman Auditorium, showgoers will be treated to Of Ebony Embers – Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance performed by the Core Ensemble. The music theatre work celebrates three great African American poets: Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Claude McKay, as seen through the eyes of renowned painter and muralist Aaron Douglas.

Buy your tickets by scanning this QR code.

Celeste Thomas, director of multicultural student services at EMU, said patrons can expect to hear jazz from the Harlem Renaissance, a pivotal cultural and artistic movement in the 1920s and ‘30s.

“It will be a night where people can dress up and have a nice meal and go to the performance,” she said.

The artists who make up the Core Ensemble group performing the show are cellist Syneva Colle, EMU Music Program Director and pianist David Berry, percussionist Michael Parola and actor Dracyn Blount.

Berry, who toured with the group for years when he lived in New York City before coming to EMU, said he was excited to help bring them to campus.

Of Ebony Embers is a powerful one-person show that delves into the lives of several figures from the Harlem Renaissance while capturing the spirit of the era with live music from the time,” said Berry. “Dracyn Blount is a terrific actor and captures the heart of the different artists he portrays beautifully”

Tickets for the combined dinner and theatre show are $30 for faculty, staff and the public and $10 for students. Tickets for the theatre show only are $10 for faculty, staff and the public and free for students.

Tickets can be purchased online by scanning the QR code above through Tuesday, Feb. 13.

In addition to Multicultural Student Services, the event is co-sponsored by the Music Department, Theatre Department and with partial funding from a DEI Inclusive Excellence grant.

Gospel Choir

Just in time for Black History Month, the EMU Gospel Choir is getting a reboot.

The Gospel Choir will makes its debut performance at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4, during Celebration Student-led Worship in Lehman Auditorium. The group will perform a half-dozen songs and share the history of gospel music. The choir is led by EMU student Mikayla Pettus and will be accompanied by Berry on piano.

The Gospel Choir also will perform a song each for Convocation on Wednesday, Feb. 7 (accompanied by the Rev. Timothy Dorsey), and on Wednesday, Feb. 21 (accompanied by Berry), at 10:10 a.m. in Lehman Auditorium.

Pettus said the Gospel Choir is a diverse set of students, and includes chamber choir members, athletes and people from all types of backgrounds. Some of the members have grown up in a choir, while others have never sung before. 

Part of the reason to bring back the Gospel Choir, she said, was to diversify music for students and for convocations to feature a different type of music.

“A lot of Black students wanted an outlet to sing gospel music songs and have worship in their own way, and we welcome everyone to join and worship with us,” Pettus said.

Washington, D.C., trip

On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Multicultural Student Services office will sponsor a bus trip to Washington, D.C. 

Those on the trip will visit the:

  • National Museum of African American History and Culture;
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial;
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library;  
  • and the National Portrait Gallery, which recently unveiled a portrait of TV star Oprah Winfrey.

All events, except for the D.C. bus tour trip, are open to the public.

For more information, visit or contact Celeste Thomas, director of multicultural student services, at

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