The legacy and 85th birthday of the late Arkansas pianist, composer, conductor and music teacher, Art Porter Sr., will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater at Little Rock.
The Arkansas Educational Television Network in partnership with Arkansas Sounds will present the celebration, according to a news release.
The event is free and open to the public, however seating is limited. Tickets are available at ronrobinsontheater.org.
The event will feature the 1996 film “Art Porter Sr.: A Musical Treasure,” as well as a panel discussion honoring Porter’s legacy.
Porter graduated from Arkansas AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) with a Bachelor of Science degree in music education in 1954. He earned a Master of Science degree in music education from Henderson State University in 1975, according to the release.
The Arkansas Jazz Statesman, Porter was born in Little Rock Feb. 8, 1934, and graduated in 1950 from Dunbar High School.
“He never officially worked as a touring musician, choosing instead to perform, teach and contribute to his church and other charitable causes in his hometown and state.,” according to the release.
The musician taught at Mississippi Valley College, Horace Mann High School, Parkview High School and Philander Smith College. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Shorter College and was pianist/organist/choral director at Bethel AME Church at Little Rock, according to the release.
“Porter produced two ground-breaking programs on AETN: ‘The Minor Key,’ a weekly series portraying black culture in Arkansas, and ‘Porterhouse Cuts,’ a series of 10 shows that were aired throughout the southeastern region covering 14 states. He produced several albums including ‘Little Rock A.M.’ and ‘Something Else.’ His last recording, ‘Portrait of Art,’ was released after his death on Feb. 8, 1994, (his birthday), with proceeds going to help promising young musicians realize their musical dreams.,” according to the release.
“Porter appeared on stage with Pharoah Sanders, Steve Allen, O. C. Smith, James Leary, Al Hibbler, the Northwest Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Little Rock Jazz Machine and many others. He was the first recipient of the Arkansas Jazz and Heritage Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993,” according to the release.
AETN will also air “Art Porter Sr.: A Musical Treasure” at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18.
For tickets or details on the celebration Jan. 25, visit ronrobinsontheater.org.