Meet John Malveaux

Concert Promoter/Arts Presenter

bioJohn Malveaux started booking future Grammy singer Thelma Houston in Long Beach and Los Angeles in 1964. He later promoted concerts primarily in Long Beach featuring legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Big Joe Turner, Jackie Wilson, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, George Gobel, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Four Tops, and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas. Starting in 1997, representing the Long Beach Central Area Association(LBCAA), John began producing free concerts sponsored by the City of Long Beach in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth Celebrations.

Memorable performances included Kool & The Gang, Shirley Caesar, Andre Crouch, Deniece Williams, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Dazz Band, Rose Royce, Ronnie Laws, Lakeside, Low Riders(original War), Denque Fever, Bobby Rodriguez, Mighty Mo Rodgers, and Thelma Houston.

John’s interest and research in classical music heightened after befriending American composer Roy Harris in 1977. During 2003 Black History Month, he produced “An Evening of Grace & Style” at the Skirball Cultural Center featuring music of composes William Grant Still, Ed Bland, Barbara Sherrill, Margaret Bond, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and arias from William Grant Still’s Costaso and A Bayou Legend operas. A visual art exhibit, Operatic Mask series, by Evangeline Seward complimented the arias. Performers included Ron Clark(violin), Yolanda West(Soprano), Barbara Sherrill(Piano), James Sterrett-Bryant(Baritone), Robert Ball(Marimba),Gwendolyn Lytle(Soprano), Charles Dickerson(Tenor), Althea Waites(Piano), Barbara Sherrill Chorale, Hansonia Caldwell(Piano), and Marcus Eley(Clarinet).

On August 3, 2003, John organized performance of William Grant Still vocal and piano music for the dedication and reception of TROUBLED ISLAND opera mural at William Grant Still Art Center(Los Angeles Cultural Affairs). Evangeline Seward(piano) and Carol Allen(soprano) performed selections including “Tis Sunset in the Garden” from TROUBLED ISLAND. Judith Still, daughter of William Grant Still attended the dedication and reception.
John organized lectures by music scholars Dr. Hansonia Caldwell and Dr. Ray Briggs with corresponding music performances covering classical, spiritual, and jazz on September 10, October 22, and November 5, 2006 respectively at the Long Beach Museum of Art as part of the exhibit PORTRAITS OF A PEOPLE: Picturing African Americans in the Nineteenth Century. The September 10 performance by the Original Angeles Players included Afro-European Chevalier de Saint-George (1739-99) STRING QUARTER NO.1.

In 2007, John initiated and coordinated with Sonja Hawkins, Music Director at Renaissance High School for the Arts, student opera workshops conducted by soprano Malesha Jessie who has performed with LA and San Francisco Operas.
“Singing Her Song: The Story of Hope Foye” Celebrating Black History Month 2008 was created by Union Bank as the sixth in a series of compact discs honoring distinguished African Americans. As president of LBCAA, John partnered with Union Bank Renaissance Branch and Union Bank corporate to present a live conversation and performance by soprano Hope Foye in honor of Women’s History Month 2008. Hope Foye was a classically trained soprano, activist and protégé of Paul Robeson when her passport was taken during the McCarthy era because she participated in a competition in East Germany. After a successful ten year career in Mexico, Hope lived and worked in Europe for fourteen more years before returning to the United States in the late 1970’s. At 86, Hope is still a remarkable talent with an inspirational spirit. John also presented performances of soprano Hope Foye at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles and Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. “Beyond the incredible life of Hope Foye, her performance of “Angelitos Negros”(Black Angels) can never be forgotten”, said John Malveaux
In June 2008, with the help of a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach, John produced “Music Without Borders” concert at the Long Beach Museum of Latin American Art. The free concert featured chamber and vocal music of Carlos Chavez and William Grant Still performed by the Original Angeles Players(string quartet), Amber Mercomes(soprano), and Evangeline Seward(Piano). “The concert was an opportunity to heighten awareness of neglected significant contributors to the world of classical music and bring different cultures together”.

LBCAA co-sponsored with the City of Long Beach Parks Recreation & Marine the 2009 Long Beach JUNETEENTH Celebration. JUNETEENTH is the oldest celebration in the nation commemorating the ending of slavery. John organized a new 72 piece symphony orchestra and 40 voice chorus(MusicUNTOLD Orchestra & Chorale) to perform the west coast premiere of Roy Harris “Bicentennial Symphony”. The composition premiered in Washington D.C., February 10-12, 1976 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It is the strongest musical statement on U.S. History, slavery, and race relations ever made by an American composer. The chorus carries the larger part of the work with passages from the Preamble to the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation as well as original passages. The work had not been performed in 33 years. The performance was endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, a federal agency in Washington DC. Classical radio KUSC participated as a media sponsor. The Celebration also included Blues featuring Mighty Mo Rodgers(African American) and Jazz featuring Dr. Bobby Rodriguez(Latin). John was recognized by the United States Olympic Committee for organizing the performance.

The first annual Long Beach Latino Parade & Celebration was held September 12, 2009. John organized the only African American performance of the Celebration. Steve Leary, El Presidente, was “ born and raised in Panama as the child of an American serviceman, who returned to the U.S. when Leary was sixteen, and a Panamanian mother. Leary is very much a man of two cultures, two identities”, said Greg Mellen of the Long Beach Press Telegram. El Presidente performed Hip Hop in Spanish to a large cheering and dancing audience.

On October 18, 2009, John organized the entertainment and coordinated publicity for Union Bank Renaissance Branch Fifth Year Celebration sponsored by 6th District Councilman Dee Andrews, LBCAA, Leadership Long Beach, Connected Corridor, Knight Foundation, Long Beach Community Foundation and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. The multicultural celebration included Cambodian traditional folk music, Mariachi Azteca, Peruvian dancers, and African American soprano Amber Mercomes who has performed with LA and San Francisco Operas. John received Certificate of Recognition from the City of Long Beach and Certificate of Excellence from Union Bank.

As president of the LBCAA, John has organized numerous non-music projects to promote diversity and human dignity. BETA ISRAEL: photo exhibit featuring the work of Irene Fertik captured the hardships and kinships of people of African descent who refer to themselves as Beta Israel(House of Israel). After Israel’s Chief Rabbi decreed that Ethiopians Jews were indisputably descendents of the tribe of Dan, Ethiopians Jews were airlifted in 1984 and again in 1991. For the first time in history, Africans were taken out of Africa to freedom. The June 1-30, 1998 exhibit at Borders was co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles as an official event of the 50th Birthday of the State of Israel. Long Beach Rabbi Moshe Halfon provided music at the June 7 reception.

Movie screening of INTO THE ARMS OF STRANGERS: Stories of the Kindertransport was held December 14, 2000 at the Art Theatre followed by discussion with associate producer, Alicia Dwyer. In the nine months prior to World War II, in an act of mercy, Britain opened its doors and hearts to over 10,000 innocent Jewish and other children. Most of these children, or Kinder, never saw their parents again. The documentary tells the story of those who survived and stories about the impact of the Holocaust. It subsequently won an Oscar for Best Documentary.
Movie screening of PANDENIC: Facing Aids, June 7, 2003 at AMC Theatres Pine Square 16. This was a collaborative project between the LBCAA and Department of Health and Human Services. The powerful HBO documentary follows the personal stories of people from five countries as they brave sickness and stigma. The filmmaker was award-winning producer, director, and writer, Rory Kennedy(daughter of Bobby Kennedy). A luncheon, presentations by a panel of experts, and a public forum followed the screening. The documentary and other educational materials were donated to the Long Beach Unified School District.

A LEGACY OF STYLE: Works by Paul R. Williams, Architect. This lecture and slide presentation by Karen Hudson(granddaughter and author of the book) was sponsored by LBCAA and organized by John Malveaux on March 27, 2004 at Pacific Coast Campus of Long Beach City College, was a look at the remarkable body of work (including historical structures at the former L.B. Naval Station and homes in Park Estates and Virginia Country Club) by California’s first licensed black architect. Financial assistance was provided by the Port of Long Beach. This program led to the development of a DVD documentary titled PAUL REVERE WILLIAMS: A LEGEND IN ARCHITECTURE produced by Dave Kelly at CSULB and funded by a grant from the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association. John served as consultant to the production.

LBCAA sponsored and John organized 2008 African American History Month exhibit of Ron Wilkins “Journey to Black Mexico: A Photographic Discourse” at 2nd City Council Gallery and Performance Space. The exhibit presented images of Black slave descendants who mixed with indigenous and Spanish. Professor Ron Wilkins conducted a youth workshop titled “Developing and Sustaining Mutually-Supportive Relationships between Black and Brown Students”. The exhibit was intended to give a broader appreciation of the relationship of Latinos and Blacks and the depth of their shared heritage and history.

On October 25, the LBCAA sponsored and John organized a theatrical fundraiser, MULATTO Series, at the Found Theatre as a fundraiser for the Long Beach Public Library. ONE WOMAN; TWO RACES, JULIETTE FAIRLEY’S ONE WOMAN SHOW, “Mulatto Series”, is two shows in one performance. “Mulatto’s Dilemma” chronicles the adventures of a bi-racial woman living in the 1920s and her indecision whether to marry a black man or white man. “The Making of a Mulatto” presents issues relevant to interracial marriages and their children by juxtaposing the Jim Crow South in American with the Nazi regime in France. She wrote two shows to give audiences a peek into how having parents of different races influences an adult child’s psychology and perspective on the world. “Many bi-racial people are caught in between two worlds, tormented by allegiances to both the black community and the larger white society. My show explores these issues,” said Miss Fairley.