WBTT to present free, outdoor performance of ‘Jazzlinks’ on Feb. 17 at The Bay in downtown Sarasota

Program is a celebration of Black History Month

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will present a free performance of Jazzlinks on The Bay’s Civic Green lawn on Feb. 17, in celebration of Black History Month. Contributed photo by Sorcha Augustine

On Feb. 17, the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) will celebrate Black History Month with a free, outdoor performance of Jazzlinks: Songs and Stories of the Civil Rights Movement, the Troupe has announced.

The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on The Bay’s Civic Green lawn, located at 801 N. Tamiami Trail in downtown Sarasota, a news release points out.

The Jazzlinks touring education program — a collaboration of WBTT, the Jazz Club of Sarasota and the Sarasota County Schools — “is an integrated arts experience presented at all Sarasota County high schools to help illustrate, through music and theatre, the contributions of African Americans in U.S. history,” the news release explains.

This year’s Jazzlinks program, “which is under the leadership of WBTT Education Director/Artistic Associate Jim Weaver, focuses on the Woolworth Lunch Counter Protest and Montgomery Bus Boycott,” the release adds. “As in the past, this is a two-part presentation with two separate scripts: one to be presented in individual classrooms and another to be performed in an auditorium or theater space for multiple classes,” the release explains.

To be able to adjust “to ever-changing pandemic conditions, WBTT has video recorded both scripts,” so students can see the program either in-person or via video, the release notes.

Among the songs featured in this year’s presentation are We Shall Overcome, A Change Is Gonna Come, Blowin’ In the Wind, What’s Going On, People Get Ready, Young, Gifted and Black, and How I Got Over, the release adds.

“While Jazzlinks is intended for and geared toward students, we are really looking forward to sharing the program with the wider community,” said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach in the release. “We appreciate being able to perform at such a beautiful venue — many thanks to The Bay for hosting us on February 17!” she added in the release.

“The Bay is committed to building a park that is open and accessible, free and welcoming to all, and it’s by partnering with organizations like WBTT that we are doing so,” said Jeannie Perales, chief experience officer of The Bay Park, in the release. “We are honored to present this important program to our community in celebration of Black History Month.”

The 2022 Jazzlinks sponsors are Shelley and Sy Goldblatt, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and the Florida Department of State’s Division of Arts & Culture, the release points out.

For more about WBTT, visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.

For more information about The Bay, visit www.thebaysarasota.org or call 941-203-5316.