From actors and musicians to poets and authors, Joplin has produced an astounding number of artists, many of whom have achieved fame and notoriety from around the globe. One such artist is world-renowned jazz musician Charles McPherson.
McPherson was born in Joplin July 24, 1939. Here, he uncovered a passion for music during concerts from traveling territory bands, who performed popular jazz music in small venues across the country. These performances left a lasting impression on McPherson, who was fascinated by the bands’ saxophonists.
In 1948, McPherson’s family moved to Detroit, where a dynamic jazz scene fostered his love of music and later allowed him to study under renowned pianist Barry Harris. From there, McPherson’s career expanded rapidly, taking him to concert venues, festivals, orchestras and jazz halls across the world. Today, McPherson is a highly revered saxophonist whose work continues to astound and impress.
Area residents have two opportunities to experience this jazz great’s talent in person. Connect2Culture, Langston Hughes Cultural Society, The Minnie Hackney Community Service Center of Joplin, Post Art Library, Pro Musica, Spiva Center for the Arts, and Visit Joplin are bringing McPherson back to his hometown for two outstanding performances.
On Friday, February 18, at the Joplin Empire Market, patrons can enjoy an exclusive performance from McPherson and his band, a special father-daughter duet performance featuring ballerina Camille McPherson, a meet-and-greet with the artists, and a catered dinner from Hackett Hot Wings for $55 per person. All proceeds benefit the creation of a Black history mural depicting Charles McPherson, Langston Hughes and other prominent Black artists who performed in Joplin or made an impact on our community.
On the following night, Saturday, February 19, McPherson and his band will perform at Central Christian Center for free.
“This has been a labor of love three years in the making,” says Emily Frankoski, director of Connect2Culture. “It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point, but everyone involved knew that [seeing McPherson perform] would be worth it.”
McPherson’s homecoming marks two performances in Connect2Culture’s annual Curtains Up Series. From gifted singers and remarkable bands to hilarious skits and thrilling dancers, each performance delights audiences as soon as the curtain’s up! The lineup for this year’s season includes:
Charles McPherson Homecoming Celebration
Friday & Saturday | February 18 & 19, 2022 | 7 pm
Joplin Empire Market & Central Christian Center
The TEN Tenors “Love Is In The Air”
Saturday, February 26, 2022 | 7 pm
Joplin High School Performing Arts Center
Saturday, April 2, 2022 | 7 pm
Joplin Empire Market Courtyard
Reservations for the free performance Saturday, February 19, and tickets for the fundraiser event Friday, February 18 ($55), are available at connect2culture.org or via phone at 417.501.5550. C2C offers a 10 percent discount for students, seniors and active military/veterans. Groups of 10 or more paying via a single transaction receive a 20 percent discount. Groups must call to process the sale.
Please note: Per the artist’s request, extensive COVID-19 safety protocols will be in effect during both performances. Visit connect2culture.org/charles-mcpherson for full details before reserving or buying tickets.