Jazz Festival 33: A celebration of the life of its founder, Sajda Musawwir Ladner, scheduled for March 12

STATEN ISLAND, NY — The Universal Temple of the Arts (UTA), an organization that has provided life enrichment programs to Staten Islanders for more than 50 years, will celebrate the life of Sajda Musawwir Ladner, former executive and artistic director and founder of Staten Island JAZZ on Saturday. Festival. , March 12, 5-9 p.m. at the historic St. George Theater.

Sajda died in August.

Sajda Ladner in a photo from the 1980s

Scheduled to coincide with Women’s History Month, the festival, hosted by Sheila E. Anderson, author and on-air personality of WBGO, 88.3 FM, the production will feature live jazz tribute performances by favorites like Winard Harper and Jeli Posse, The Leopoldo F Fleming Afro Caribbean Ensemble, the Danny Mixon Quartet, with singer Antoinette Montague, and the UTA Jazz Ensemble.

Also on the list will be newcomers Bria Skonberg, Nikara Warren Presents… Black Wall Street and the Dal Segno Trio, along with Michael Morreale and Houston Person.

Universal Temple of the Arts ~ Staten Island Jazz Festival 31

Nicole Wright and Karlus Trapp perform at the Universal Temple of the Arts Staten Island Jazz Festival 31.Staten Island Advance

For more than three decades, under Ladner’s direction, the Staten Island JAZZ Festival has featured performances by National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) jazz masters, such as the late Barry Harris, Afrofuturism, pioneering band Sun Ra Arkestra, as well as traditional concerts, contemporary and emerging local talent.

Not only did Ladner allow jazz lovers to experience live performances on Staten Island, but she believed that audiences of all ages should experience all things jazz by presenting educational workshops and forums taught by visual artists, dancers and poets.

All proceeds from the festival support UTA’s free arts and education programs throughout the year.

UTA Staten Island Jazz Festival 30

Scenes from the Universal Temple of the Arts Staten Island Jazz Festival 30, held at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall, Livingston. October 21, 2017. (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez)Stick-Shot

In 2019, Ms Ladner said:

“As we enter our third decade as Staten Island’s oldest jazz festival, we remain committed to showcasing iconic and popular jazz artists as well as showcasing Staten Island artists who stand tall to deliver their understanding of this world-famous music called jazz. Like New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz and gumbo, the Staten Island JAZZ Festival cooks with jazz music, dance, song and spoken word. Universal Temple of the Arts thinks of JAZZ in all caps. We explore all aspects of the art form.


Tower. Terry Troia: “Sajda Ladner has worked with Project Hospitality at our family shelter Hospitality House in Tompkinsville since 1988. For 34 years she has shared the gift of art with homeless mothers and children, sewing, crafting and giving them deep appreciation At UTA, she has always included our children, teens and young adults on trips to Manhattan and beyond to experience all genres of music and the great contribution of black culture in their lives and in our world. of the past decade, she could be found in the front of the El Centro immigrant store in Port Richmond, teaching an arts program with mothers and children, music, painting, waving, beading. wove a family fabric with his hands and his heart. His art welcomed everything, included everything and became the language that spoke of Love to all. Everyone was a strand in his fabric of life. All people are.”

Virginia Allen, community leader and Advance Woman of Achievement, Class of 2005: “Sajda had a flair for fashion and she was my very good friend. I had known her for over 60 years. She was very creative. I was in a few of her fashion shows. Sajda made clothes and hosted fashion shows for the National Council of Negro Women and we both enjoyed vintage clothes. And I already bought my ticket for the jazz festival weeks ago and am waiting for the event at the St. George Theater in honor of Sajda.

Universal Temple of the Arts ~ Staten Island Jazz Festival 31

Scenes from the Universal Temple of the Arts Staten Island Jazz Festival 31, held at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall, Livingston. October 20, 2018. (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez) Staten Island Advance

Gabriel Christa, filmmaker, choreographer and curator and associate professor of professional practice at Barnard College, Columbia University: “Sajda was such a vivacious community person who really cared about the arts on Staten Island. When I moved here she was one of the first people I met and was supportive of my work as an artist and was involved in teaching children. I first got to know her as an artist and later at UTA and Snug Harbor when she hosted her ‘Harbor in Bloom’ and Snug Harbor Jazz Festival. I knew her as a host of jazz festivals. I made a short film of her dancing. She was one of those people who made a big impact on Staten Island for what she did and presented to young people and people in general and the Staten Island community as a whole. She has always involved people in the UTA.

Reverend Demetrius Carolina, pastor of First Central Baptist Church in Stapleton: “Sajda was a shining light not just for this borough, but for New York City and beyond. And Sajda brought a sense of cultural competence through its educational support services, creative arts programming and cultural awareness. For more than 40 years, she directed the largest non-profit cultural organization in operation on the North Shore. And I’m proud to call her my sister.

Lorna Harris, Strategic consultant for UTA: “March is Women’s History Month, the SIJF is the perfect way to celebrate a woman. Sajda gave us art, culture and humanity, wrapped in love. This year we are celebrating Women’s History Month with the Staten Island Jazz Festival.

Former city councilor Debi Rose: “I have known Sajda since she was born. My mother’s sister, Elaine Billups, was her best friend. She spends a lot of time with my grandparents. They were undertakers. Billups was the longest open black funeral home on Staten Island. I am blessed to have known Sajda and to have been the beneficiary of her love. Light and love are the words that run through my stream of consciousness whenever I think of Sajda. I didn’t know the literal translation of his name or even if there was one, but I know that to me it meant someone who is the embodiment of light and love. She was a visionary who knew the importance of teaching children and families about our history and culture, so she founded UTA. She loved children, she raised them and kissed them. She saw the potential in each of them and provided them with a safe and loving environment. I truly believe that Sajda was a gift from God put here to spread light, love and peace. We love you Sajda as much as you loved us!

Universal Temple of the Arts ~ Staten Island Jazz Festival 31

Scenes from the Universal Temple of the Arts Staten Island Jazz Festival 31, held at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall, Livingston. October 20, 2018. (Staten Island Advance/Derek Alvez) Staten Island Advance

Al-Lambert, businessman, musician, conductor and arranger:I met Sajda about six years ago when Vinnie Ruggieri died. We met at the cafe and an incredible friendship was born with this angelic woman. She was so generous of spirit. Ruggieri volunteered at UTA as a teacher. He has helped a lot in the music world. We organized the Staten Island Vinnie Ruggieri Jazz Festival to honor Vinnie who dedicated his life to jazz in Staten Island and we donated the money to the Staten Island UTAs to which Vinnie was attached. It was a wonderful wedding of two wonderful people. Sajda has always been selfless. This jazz jam was dedicated to them both.

LauraJean Watters, executive director of the Staten Island Foundation: “Sajda Musawwir Ladner was a unique spirit among the leaders of Staten Island. Her soft-spoken grace often disarmed the rooms she spoke in and made people think differently. But it wasn’t her words that mattered as much as her actions in serving those who needed her most. Year after year, she has provided art experiences to schools and to the UTA Headquarters on Jersey Street, leaving a lasting impression on children lucky enough to attend. The Jazz Festival was his “baby” and it is only natural that he continues to celebrate his heritage.

In 2009, when asked how Staten Island’s many diverse groups could improve their relationships, Ladner said, “[a] part of UTA’s mission is to foster brotherly love through artistic, cultural and educational programs. UTA serves the entire population; however, young people—especially those who are underserved, disadvantaged, or whatever politically correct term is currently—are our target population. Studying the arts – be it music, dance, painting, sculpture, writing, etc. – words like harmony, love, balance, passion, diversity, color, relationship and truth come to light.

And she added that she hopes the art of living will be realized by all of Staten Island.

UTA’s Staten Island JAZZ Festival 33 is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional corporate support was provided by Con Edison and FerryAds.com.

Tickets for the event are priced at $35 and can be obtained at www.ticketmaster.com For more information, visit [email protected], phone 718 273-5610, visit facebook.com/UTAsiny, twitter.com/@UTAStatenIsland Where instagram.com/utasiny

Willie J. Johnson