Joe McQueen and The Next Generation Jazz Band performing during Black History Month 2015
Joe McQueen and The Next Generation jazz band performing during the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College’s celebration for Black History Month.

A saxophone and guitar harmony flowed through the room while attendees took their seats to participate in the fifth annual Black History Month celebration at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College (OWATC) on Wednesday night.

“The purpose of the event is the college’s way of saying thank you for coming and being part of the diversity within our community and campus,” said Mac McCullough, diversity coordinator at the OWATC. “It’s all about giving back to the community, and we wanted to make sure to reached out to all age groups, all ethnicities, all creeds, everyone.”

The event welcomed not just students and faculty from the OWATC but members of the Ogden community as well.

Joe McQueen, a well-known artist in the Ogden community, in collaboration with of The Next Generation jazz band, started the event with an invigorating jazz performance.

Some of the attendees listened to the music in their seats while others stood up and danced to the rhythm of the music.

After the jazz performance concluded, the Utah Urban Dance Organization (UDO) took to the stage to introduce the audience to the world of hip-hop by providing some historical background about how hip-hop has evolved through the generations.

Their performance included breakdance and aerobic movements, combined with different music rhythms. Attendees applauded to the rhythm of the music while the dancers performed.

The last performance was from a local band named Changing Lanes who performed cover songs like Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” wrapping up with Bruno Mars’ latest hit “Uptown Funk.”

“We are intentionally trying to be a good community partner,” said McCullough.

McCullough said all of the performers were local artists from around the state.

“I think it was great,” James Jackson III, chair and founder of Utah African-American Chamber of Commerce, said. “Attendance could have been better … people who did not attend missed out. It was a great event.”

Jackson mentioned the need for millennials, and even younger generations, to participate in community activities and events of this kind, which will allow them to broaden their horizons.

Jose Luis Prado, a member of the Ogden community, said, “The music was good as well as the dance performances. (The event) is a great way to bring different cultures together.”

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