North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central to host two-day African American Heritage Festival April 16-17

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Contact: Ted Slowik, Director of PR and Media Relations, 630-637-5307,

Feb. 19, 2010—The African American Leadership Roundtable will present Naperville’s first African American Heritage Festival, a two-day celebration April 16-17 that includes a dance performance and gospel fest at North Central College.

Activities get underway at 4 p.m. Friday, April 16, and at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 17. Visit here for a full schedule of events and times.

The festival promotes African American heritage in art, history and culture and will include workshops; an art exhibit featuring works from Aurora’s William H. Bigham Galleries; a “living” wax museum display of historical figures from Naperville-based Agape Connection; performances and exhibits by College of DuPage Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) medalists; a performance by Chicago-based New Branch Theatre Company; poetry readings and storytelling.

Highlights include a performance of Called 2 Dance by the McIntyre Institute at 8 p.m. Friday, April 16, and a gospel fest featuring Darius Brooks and the Community Mass Choir at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 17. Both events will take place in the College’s Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville.

All general activities and events are free, though there is a cost for the Friday and Saturday night main stage performances. Tickets for each event are $20/adults, $15/senior citizens and students and $10/children 10 years and younger; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

The Called 2 Dance performance is part of a nationally broadcast program by The McIntyre Institute, which is based in Hialeah, Fla., and promotes liturgical, modern and ballet dance through various community productions. Visit to learn more.

Brooks is a Chicago-based singer, songwriter, arranger and producer who has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards and won three, along with seven Stellar Awards and two Dove Awards. Through the creation of his independent label, Journey Music Group (JMG), he has produced three albums of his material and established the Simply Darius Foundation, an organization devoted to discovering and mentoring talented artists. Visit to learn more.

The festival is funded in part through the City of Naperville’s Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) grant program.

The African American Leadership Roundtable serves DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties. The group meets the last Wednesday of each month from 7:30 to 9:15 a.m. at DuPage A.M.E. Church, 4300 Yackley Ave., Lisle. Visit to learn more.

This festival is one of many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. North Central offers a variety of venues accommodating a rich range of local and world-class events, performances and space needs for the public. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical and dance productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).