Traditional acoustical blues musician Lemuel Sheppard will display his talents around the Hays community later this month.
He will be the featured entertainer during a buffet dinner sponsored by the Fort Hays State University Black Student Union on Friday, Jan. 28. The dinner and show begin at 6 p.m. in the Fort Hays Ballroom of the Memorial Union. Tickets are $10 per person and can be bought by contacting any BSU member, by going to the Office of Multicultural Affairs in Picken Hall, room 308, or by contacting the Hays Arts Council at (785) 625-7522.
During his time in Hays, Sheppard, who is possibly Kansas' best-known acoustical blues and jazz musician, will visit elementary schools in conjunction with Kansas History Week, sponsored by the Hays Arts Council.
Brenda Moeder, director of the Hays Arts Council, said Sheppard will bring music, heritage and Historical images of Black Kansans to the schools.
"He has a Kansas-themed show that brings in a different style and different story with folk and African-American music."
Bringing in Sheppard is an opportunity for the Hays Arts Council to combine Kansas History Week, Black History Month and a public jazz and blues concert, said Moeder.
Sheppard, a resident of Pittsburg, KS, has not only performance experience but an education in music. He has three degrees in music to go with his tours of the United States, South Africa and South America. He has also performed with Dr. Eva Jessey, a well-known woman in folk and African-American music. Sheppard appeared on a CBS special presentation with Jessey called "Pioneers in Black Music."
Moeder said the funding for programs such as this come from several different sources. Along with money provided by the Kansas Arts Commission, she said, Ellis County schools and the Hays Arts Council pay for performers such as Sheppard.
"We want to provide outreach cultural opportunities for the students with as many things throughout the year as possible," Moeder said. "We sponsor shows, creative writing contests, art contests and many other opportunities for students to experience cultural activities."