For the second year in a row, local talents had the opportunity to shine as the Peoples’ Family Workshop handed out its annual Mirror of Life Award (MOLA) at the Deluxe Theater to local artists and performers from the Greater Houston area.
MOLA award winners received coaching from legendary master teacher Dr. Howard Harris, founder of the Peoples’ Family Workshop, and were selected after a season of performances (September through December) at a number of small local venues. Performers were programmed into the Review Showcase where they were voted upon by a panel of professionals from the cultural arts and entertainment arena.
This year’s community honoree was Dr. Merline Pitre, educator and author of numerous books on African American history.
The Mirror of Life Award was named by Harris to reflect the TSU professor’s perception of music as a mirror of life, a notion also expressed by Pablo Picasso who is quoted as saying, “The arts hold up the mirror to life.
Originally called the People’s Workshop (PW) when launched in the 1970’s, the performing arts showcase was designed to provide nurturing and meaningful exposure of gifted artists in jeopardy of being lost. The workshop grew out of a lab activity for songwriters under Harris’ guidance.
From 1988 to the mid 1990’s, the workshop culminated in an annual awards show called the Sammy Awards presented annually at the Wortham Theater Center. A host of top artists in the entertainment industry were involved in the program in their formative years, including Beyonce, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Whalum, Chris Walker, Robert Glasper, Barbara Tucker, and many others.
The performing arts program disappeared from the scene in 1997, but was resurrected by Harris in recent years as the Peoples’ Family Workshop.
The MOLA Award is distinguished from a talent show competition by having participants strive for a standard of excellence instead of against each other.
Nominations, including self-nominations, are ongoing. For information on how to become a nominee, contact PW at: (281) 506-8192 (Message line); (281) 923-6057 (Direct of text). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web address: www.pfwonline.org.
2017 MOLA Award Winners
JR., TEEN, YOUNG ADULTS
Raven Jackson, dancer & vocalist
Artz Dance Cre8tion, dance group
Alexie Jones, young adult poet-rapper-praise dancer
Harold Love, composer-vocalist-guitarist
Boisnet Hall, solo dancer; choreographer
Victorio Menghi, vocalist-composer-instrumentalist
Dorian Gray, vocalist-instrumentalist
Cassandra Tyson, jazz vocalist
Peoples’ Family Workshop Board Members
Dr. Howard Harris, President and Founder
Professor of Music and Director Emeritus and Founding Director of Jazz Studies, TSU
Dr. Dianne Jemison Pollard, Executive Board Vice President
Professor of Theater/ Area Coordinator, TSU
Dannette K. Davis, Executive Board 2nd Vice President
CEO K. Davis Associates
Janice Francis, Executive Board Secretary/ Treasurer
Raymond Guajardo, Executive Board
Chelsea Jenkins, Executive Board
Nicholas Allen, Executive Board
Kelvin Webster, Advisory Board
Gordon Weiberg, Advisory Board
George Thomas, Advisory Board
Rodney Bush, Production