Concert celebrates music that fueled the Civil Rights movement

As part of Northeast State’s Black History Month events, vocalist Jonathan Blanchard will present “Music that Fueled the Civil Rights Movement” at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on Feb. 2 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free and open to all.

Drawing on the songs of Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone, and Marvin Gaye, Blanchard presents iconic music that was an essential component of the movement. His performance captures the vitality and idealism necessary to fuel dangerous marches, sit-ins, picket lines, and freedom rides.

Jonathan Blanchard (courtesy of Allen Cooley Photography)
Jonathan Blanchard (courtesy of Allen Cooley Photography)

Blanchard, in the tradition of great soul singers, creates music that allows his deep, soulfully rich voice to blend naturally with the times. He movingly conveys poignant words and melodies to evoke feelings of love respect, hard times, and revolt. His voice of depth and richness draws comparisons to the likes of Paul Robeson, Isaac Hayes, and Barry White.
Blanchard recently released his first studio album entitled “Freedom’s Soul…the REVOLUTION.” Recorded in Memphis and Atlanta, the album is a fusion of soul, funk, jazz, spirituals, hip-hop, and R&B.

Blanchard’s artistic tastes were first forged in grade school. However, by the time he entered high school his artistic curiosity led him to sing in various choruses and to act in a number of theatre productions. He attended Tennessee State University, receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in commercial music and music education, respectively. While in college, he learned to weave the various elements of his artistic nature into a magnetic style of delivery.

His stage credits include roles in Your Arms Are Too Short to Box with God, A Westside Story, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Scipio, Do Lord Remember Me, and The Wiz. In addition, he’s done voice-over work for local and national concerns, appeared on Memphis’ WREG – Live at 9 program, and most recently been the featured singing artist on the PBS film Underground Railroad – Quilt Code for Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Northeast State’s performing arts center is located adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport, 2425 Highway 75.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 423.279.7669 or visit

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