The African American Arts Institute organized the 2019 Soulful Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Wilkie Center Auditorium. The room was littered with festive Christmas decor and had vibrant holiday lights strung throughout. Microphone stands were wrapped with sparkling strands of garland and a Christmas tree topped with a star lit up the stage.
Exchanges of “happy holidays” and warm embraces filled the air. Some band performers took the stage dressed in Santa hats.
IU Soul Revue sang and played joyous holiday tunes including “Santa Baby,” “All I Want for Christmas is You” and “Carol of the Bells,” which was performed in a church-like fashion, complete with a choir.
The part of the concert that went hand in hand with the giving season was that the group requested a donation of winter clothing items that would go toward the Wheeler Mission of Bloomington, an organization that helps people experiencing homelessness.
“Everything we do, we do it for you,” IU Soul Revue’s director James Strong said of the audience.
The show consisted of vocals, saxophones, trumpets, a guitar solo, keys, bass and percussion.
Red and green lights illuminated the singers on the stage while they showcased their voices through harmonizing and the singers' vocal range.
Guitarist Alex Goldblatt’s solo was audience member Jaiden Harris’s favorite part of the performance. Harris also had friends in the show, one singer and another saxophonist.
Harris called the performance beautiful and said she was never bored.
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The IU Auditorium, the Jacobs School of Music and MidWay Music Speaks were all awarded funds.
Performances will take place on Zoom.
The concert airs at 9:30 p.m. on July 25.