Women History embarked in melodic style with Melodies by Candlelight, with Melrose and friends – a musical performance that debuted on March 4th at the Cape Fear Regional Theater in Fayetteville, NC. This is the first collaboration event hosted by Cerina Johnson of No Longer Bound Entertainment LLC and Ayana Washington of Book Black Women LLC.
The show celebrated the musical talents of black women. The smooth melodies performance with a touch of acoustic mellow tone candlelight ambiance serenaded the crowd. The show headliner, Melrose Johnson, moved the audience with her remarkable performance, singing a combination of jazz, smooth R&B, and classical theater music. The event included other black female performers, Alannah McMillian, Dee Jones, and trumpeter Jerrita Waters. RadioBoxx Musick, a band based in Fayetteville, NC, played the background music. The show ended with the performers, including the co-host, Washington, singing “Four Women” by Nina Simone.
Co-Host Cerina Johnson shared that the event was special because she had the opportunity to be with my former cast mates, knowing the talent they exude. “I knew Ayana but was introduced to Melrose, Dee Jones, and Alannah McMillan when we were all booked for The Color Purple at Cape Fear Regional Theatre last year. I was Nettie, Melrose was Sophia, and the remaining three were the Church Ladies,” stated Cerina Johnson.
Co-Host Washington expressed that she wanted to open doors for black women to center stage events they wouldn’t get booked for. “I wanted to put together an event for black women because it’s hard for us to get into spaces to do what they want. We, as black women, are usually a tight cast to put in the box”, stated Washington.
“It was a no-brainer for Melrose to headline the event when approached by Ayana to do another candlelight concert,” shared Cerina Johnson. I had the opportunity to interview Professional Singer and Actress Melvina “Melrose” Johnson. Asked about the event’s outcome, Melrose Johnson stated she was thrilled with every aspect of the concert. “Cape Fear Regional Theater really cares about theater here,” said Melrose Johnson.
Growing up, the Jersey City, New Jersey native was a shy solo performer. She found her outlet singing outside her comfort zone. Her being the concert headliner speaks volumes. “The theater community is supportive of the arts here. They come to everything and give their biggest support. It’s amazing!” stated Melrose Johnson, who will be acting in the play “Aint Misbehavin” at the Oklahoma Merit Opera.
This event is significant in showcasing the many talents of black women, giving them a platform to show off their talent that they would not typically show, and allowing them to do what they usually do. “As a black performer, the importance of representation truly resonates with me. It’s important to provide professional, positive, and paid opportunities for my fellow performers”, stated Cerina Johnson.