University of Pittsburgh
March 8, 2000


Contact:  412-624-4147



PITTSBURGH, March 9 -- The newly-renovated Masonic Temple will reverberate with the sounds of jazz when the internationally-renowned tenor saxophonist Billy Harper and his quintet perform at the University of Pittsburgh's Kuntu Repertory Theatre's 25th Anniversary Celebration Gala, on Saturday, May 13.

The evening, which begins at 6:00 p.m., includes a buffet dinner, silent auction and awards ceremony to honor some outstanding contributors to Kuntu Repertory Theatre's 25-year history, followed by entertainment and dessert.

Houston-born Harper has been called one of the outstanding instrumentalists and composers in jazz today. Jazz Life said "Harper's music is ... fiery, powerful, majestic," while the Oakland (CA) Tribune called him, "... one of the most impressive figures in the jazz world."

Harper, who now lives in New York, is well-known in the Far East and Europe, where he has released numerous albums. He has played with groups led by Art Blakey and Randy Weston, has been featured in the big bands of Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Gil Evans, and Turner McCoy, and has had extended stints with Max Roach, Lee Morgan and Donald Bird.

"This is an incredible opportunity for Pittsburgh audiences to hear and enjoy Billy Harper," said Kuntu founder and artistic director Vernell Lillie, who taught drama to Harper while in Houston, and later contributed her poem, "I Move Silently Through This World," as lyrics to the single on Harper's album, "If Our Hearts Could Only See."

Also among the artists performing at this fund raising event is Judy Bady, a vocalist whose musical repertoire spans the breadth of jazz, blues, gospel, and contemporary American pop. A true "up and coming star," Bady has performed at such notable venues as the JVC Jazz Festival at Waterloo Village, New York City's famed Blue Note jazz club, and the Newport Jazz Festival.

"This gala is a wonderful way to conclude our year-long 25th anniversary celebration," said gala chairpersons Elaine and Edmund Effort. "It provides an opportunity for our friends, supporters and artists to enjoy good food and fine entertain in each other's company, while celebrating Kuntu's glorious past and promising future."

For more information on how to purchase individual tickets to the Gala at $60 apiece, reserve a table, or become a corporate sponsor for the event, call 412-648-2239.

- 30 -