News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: November 2, 2004 (04-101) 

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Blues Legends Cephas, Wiggins to Perform at Montgomery College

Two One-Hour Concerts at Black Box Theater, Dec. 4


The Black Box Theater at Montgomery College Takoma Park offers a rare opportunity to spend an evening with blues legends John Cephas and Phil Wiggins on Saturday, Dec. 4, in two one-hour shows at 7 and 9 p.m Only 100 seats, the theater allows audiences to experience in an up-close and personal way an evening of world-class entertainment with internationally acclaimed recording artists.

Phil Cephas first met John Wiggins in 1976 at the Smithsonian National Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. and the duo of Cephas & Wiggins was born. When these two great musicians joined forces, the blues community proclaimed them the new champions of the East Coast Piedmont style of blues first popularized by artists like Blind Boy Fuller, Rev. Gary Davis and Willie McTell. And because both musicians were born in Washington, D.C., they bring a unique urban sophistication to the traditional rural blues they perform on guitar and harmonica.

John Cephas’ first taste of music was gospel, but blues soon became his calling. After learning to play the alternating thumb and fingerpicking guitar style that defines Piedmont blues, John began emulating the records he heard by early Piedmont artists. Aside from playing blues, John worked early on as a professional gospel singer, carpenter and Atlantic fisherman. By the 1960s, he was able to begin making a living as a musician.

Phil Wiggins began his musical career playing with some of Washington's leading blues artists, including Archie Edwards and John Jackson, and attributes his style to his years spent accompanying locally noted slide guitarist and gospel singer Flora Molton. His harmonica sound developed from listening to piano and horn players, as well as the music of Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson I, Little Walter, Big Walter Horton and Junior Wells. Phil also apprenticed with Mother Scott, a contemporary of Bessie Smith. Besides being a renowned harmonica player, Wiggins is also a gifted songwriter and singer whose material has helped define the duo's sound.

Performances will take place at the 100-seat Black box Theater, which is located inside the Communication Arts Center, at the corner of Philadelphia Ave. (East-West Hwy/Rte. 410) and Chicago Avenue, on the Takoma Park campus of Montgomery College.  Perry Schwartz is the Artistic Director of the Black Box Theater.

Tickets cost $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $5 for Montgomery College students and faculty.  To purchase tickets, call 301-588-4475 or log on to Production support is provided by Class Acts Arts, Inc.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County. The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.