Skidmore College’s Juneteenth Celebration!

Heavenly Echoes Gospel Band at Skidmore College’s Juneteenth Celebration, Tang Teaching Museum, June 22, 2024, photo by Shawn LaChapelle

Join us Saturday, June 22, from noon to 3 pm, for a family-friendly event featuring freedom- and Juneteenth-themed arts and crafts, storytelling for children, food, and live performances! Also buy from regional Black-owned businesses and check out books from Skidmore’s Lucy Scribner Library pop-up.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their own picnic blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the performances on the outdoor stage.

This event is co-sponsored by American Studies, Black Studies, History, Intergroup Relations, International Affairs, Music, Political Science, Sociology, Theater, the Tang Teaching Museum, and the President’s Office.


The day includes ongoing activities and timed events, both inside and outside the Museum.

Noon to 3 pm

Musical Performances

  • Noon-12:45 pm: Welcome and Neo-soul music performance by Adrian Emanuel

  • 12:45-1 pm: Hip-hop dance performance by Prodigal B

  • 1-2 pm: Congolese dance and drumming workshop by Nkoula Badila and Angel Lau

  • 2-3 pm: Gospel performance by the Heavenly Echoes Gospel Band

Children’s books read by Skidmore faculty and staff

  • Noon: Juneteenth: A Picture Book for Kids Celebrating Black Joy by Van G. Garrett
  • 12:15 pm: Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
  • 12:30 pm: Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
  • 12:45 pm: Jayden’s Impossible Garden by Mélina Mangal
  • 1 pm: Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
  • 1:15 pm: The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi
  • 1:30 pm: The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones
  • 1:45 pm: The Me I Choose to Be by Natasha Anastacia Tarp
  • 2 pm: Opal Lee and What it Means to Be Free by Alice Faye Duncan
  • 2:15 pm: The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
  • 2:30 pm: Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie
  • 2:45 pm: The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson
Anchor name: Photos

About the Performers

Bakari Grady-Willis, also known as Prodigal B, is an actor, dancer, photographer, and entertainer. Bakari recently received his Associate of Arts degree from Empire State University. He is now focused on using his talents and knowledge to build a stable future for himself and cultivate opportunities and inspiration for the next generation of Black actors and performers. Bakari loves people, exploring new places and food.

Adrian Emanuel, formerly known as The Age, is a recording artist whose musical journey has taken him across the country, sharing his songs with many different audiences. Originally from New York City, and currently residing there, Adrian’s smooth and soft vocals are the perfect complement to his emotional and heartfelt songwriting. His music covers a range of poignant topics including love, loss, heartbreak, and hope. During a significant period spent on the West Coast, Adrian developed a deep love for RnB and soul music, which profoundly influenced his musical style and continues to shape his sound today. In recent years, Adrian has undergone a creative rebirth, returning to his singer-songwriter roots—the very foundation that inspired him to start telling stories through music.

Nkoula Badila is a multitalented artist/healer born into a Congolese dancing and drumming family. She grew up performing Traditional dances with her nine siblings in schools, community centers, block parties and beyond, spreading the true beauty and stories of her culture for the world to see. Her father, Elombé Andre Badila founded the first National Ballet du Congo in Paris in the ’70s and traveled all over the world sharing the rich history and stories from their homeland. Her family continues to share these gifts to this day, teaching traditional dance and drum classes, storytelling, community theatre, yoga and leading arts and educational workshops. The music stays alive in her roots! She is also part of a traveling Cosmic soul band “Ladymoon and the Eclipse” with two of her sisters. Nkoula also makes her own music (Nkodia Via SoundCloud) inspired by the traditional polyrhythmic Melodies from her homeland. She is the creator of her jewelry business named “Nkodia” the name symbolizes the spiral and honors the patience of the outward process like the snail.

Angel Lau, based in Newburgh, NY, is passionate about percussion, drawing inspiration from his Peruvian heritage, early drumming education with Jeff Haynes, classical studies at Purchase College, and guidance from mentors in NYC. His musical journey spans Afro-Peruvian and Brazilian music, as well as various percussion styles, characterized by a commitment to lifelong learning. As a member of “Odeon” by Ephrat Asherie, Angel has showcased his talents at renowned venues across the US, including the Spoleto Festival, Vail Dance Festival, and Fall for Dance. Currently serving as a faculty accompanist at Bard College, Angel eagerly collaborates on an upcoming project with Bessie Award Winner Souleymane Badolo from Burkina Faso. His diverse collaborations with artists such as Kala and the Lost Tribe, Lady Moon and the Eclipse, Wallace Roney Jr., DreHall, Anaïs Maviel, Decora, and Nkodia highlight his dedication to enriching music’s vibrant tapestry.

The Heavenly Echoes Gospel Band was founded by the late Deacon James Edmonds out of the Sweet Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Albany, NY circa 1965. Heavenly Echoes perform in the storied tradition of Southern-style gospel music with spirituals, hymns, traditional contemporary gospel, and originals. Songs include well-known traditional works (Precious Lord, Take My Hand, for example); covers of songs that crossed over into pop music (such as the Staple Singers’ I’ll Take You There); and contemporary quartet-style songs that are gospel standards in the church community. In December 2023, the group released a CD of its original songs, titled Gospel Forward.

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