Black Women's Voices Concert

The City of Fairfax Theatre Company will hold a live “Black Women’s Voices Concert” fundraiser for its new diversity initiatives, on June 26 at The O’Dells in Clifton.

“As a theatre company, we know the power of telling a story and recognize that we can do better about whose stories we tell,” CFTC explain on its webpage.  “As people around the country are shouting, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ we are reminded of our position to center and uplift the voices of Black people and all those who have been made to feel as though they do not matter. You matter.”

The outdoor concert will be hosted by CFTC’s Diversity and Inclusion Chairman Chrystina Herring.

“The idea came from everything that has been happening in our country lately,” Herring said. “I joined CFTC in February and none of us could have predicted the state of things of where they are right now. It pushed us along to really take action.”

Kirsten Boyd, CFTC’s producing director, spearheaded the idea of a fundraiser for Black Lives Matter, and Herring worked in conjunction with her and Artistic Director Amanda Herman to come up with the concert.

“As we collaborated with one another, I thought it would be nice to create some sort of theme, which is how the theme around black women’s voices came up,” Herring said. “Thinking about who we already know, and many of those we participate with in CFTC are black women, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight their voices.”

The Black Women’s Voices Concert will feature performances by CFTC favorites Stacey Claytor, Khanner Hancock and Bruni Herring.

“It’s going to be a cabaret-style event and they will be singing a range of songs from ballads to more musical theatre pieces,” Herring said. “The purpose is for it to be inspirational. Amanda and I will also touch on some fundraising pieces—we’re going to be starting a scholarship fund and hopefully produce a show directed by a person of color in an upcoming season, whenever COVID allows that to happen.”

There will be some black hymns incorporated and the singers will do solo numbers, duets and even trio performances.

All three performers have been involved with CFTC for years. Claytor is a dancer who has runs C4 Performing Arts in Fairfax; Hancock is a music teacher and singer; and Bruni Herring is Chrystina’s mom, and also a favorite among the area’s theater audiences. The elder Herring has performed as Motormouth in “Hairspray” for the Reston Community Players, and was narrator in CFTC’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” 

“I’m pretty new to the CFTC world, so I’m getting to know them as well, and it’s been quite the joy to get to collaborate with them and get to hear their ideas,” Herring said. “They are very well versed and great at what they do. I’m excited for this to all come together.”

The show begins at 7 p.m. and $50 tickets are limited to 35 people. However, a free livestream of the performance will be available on both Facebook and Twitch. 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, NoVA Chapter.

Those that are coming in-person to see the event, strict safety protocols will be enacted, including masks worn and social distancing measures taken. These precautions are designed to keep everyone safe during an enjoyable night of music.

“We’re looking to spread joy,” Herring said. “At a time where there’s black pain in the center of attention, it’s really important to me to celebrate joy and move forward.”

As emcee for the night, Herring is looking forward to introducing these wonderful voices to those who will be following along on the live stream and hopes everyone will tune in and be a part of it.

“We’ll be accepting donations through the live stream as well,” she said. “We are planning a meeting soon to flesh out CFTC’s next action steps on moving forward to what our commitment to diversity will look like. We are excited at what that will look like.”

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