Ms. Rhoda Blount
Unity Community Center / Universal African
Dance & Drum Ensemble
Rhoda A. Blount
Rhoda A. Blount began her career in the music industry in 1982 as the Promotional Coordinator for the Kool Jazz Festival working with internationally acclaimed jazz artists that included Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Art Blakely, Lionel Hampton & Orchestra, Joe Henderson, Sarah Vaughan, Mongo Santamaria, Freddie Hubbard, Carmen McRae, Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Joe Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Odetta, Diane Schurr, Tito Puente, Patti Austin, Flora Pruim, Mavis Staples, Celia Cruz, Tania Maria, and many other legendary artists.
In 1985 Blount began her 10-year tenure as the Jazz Program Director at the Afro-American Historical & Cultural Museum where she annually produced the award winning “Jazz Live Series” and the 12-hour jazz marathon, “Jazz ‘Til Sunrise”. Blount’s headline concerts featured: Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Abdullah Ibrahaim, Cecil Taylor, Randy Weston, Hugh Masekea, Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, Shirley Horn, Terrance Blanchard, Chicago Art Ensemble – for example.
From 1988– 1996 Blount was the Artistic Director for the PECO Energy Jazz Festival, the 10-day citywide festival where she presented artists such as: Nancy Wilson, Cab Calloway, Eartha Kitt, Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, George Shearing, Dorothy Dongean, Ramsey Lewis, Pharaoh Sanders, Miriam Makeba, Jon Lucien, Regina Carter, Clark Terry, Dave Valentin, David Murray, Jackie McLean, James Moody, Heath Brothers, and other renowned musicians.
As a producing consultant, Blount worked with the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts as Program Director producing such acts as: Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gerri Allen, Clarence Carter, Gloria Lynne, Horace Silver, Marion McPartland, Mahotella Queens, Joe Zawinul, Les McCann, Johnny Griffin, Donald Byrd, Joe Lavano, Branford Marsalis, Stanley Turrentine, Jimmy Heath and others.
Blount offered her talents as consulting artistic producer for these institutions as well: The Mann Center for the Performing Arts; American Jazz Museum; Thomas Jefferson University; Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau; Mellon Jazz Festival; Odunde Festival; WDAS-Unity Day; Volunteers of America; Philadelphia Folklore Project; Black Family Reunion Cultural Festival and the Black Theater Festival. She also served as Special Projects Director at New Freedom Theatre, and Development Director at Temple University’ Public Radio station WRTI-FM. Blount also toured throughout the U.S. and Europe as a singer/dancer with the legendary Sun Ra & his Arkestra.
In 1998 Blount became the Education/Outreach Director at The Mann Center creating multicultural programs in theater, music, and dance for young people. Under Blount’s leadership, to date, the annual free “Young People Concert Series” has attracted more than 247,000 enthusiastic youngsters throughout the Delaware Valley region. She created the “Connecting Arts-N-Schools” outreach initiative project exposing more than 25,000 inner-city children to the performing arts. In April 2007, she created 6-new expanded educational programs at the newly built Field Education & Outreach Center at The Mann introducing more than 3,500 children with Master Class/Workshop Series, Meet the Artists Series, In Touch w/Tiny Tots Series, and the Greenfield Performance Treasures Series.
Blount’s mission is to give every young person the opportunity to be exposed, inspired, and enlightened by the performing arts. “I want our young people to experience the sights, sounds, and rhythms that celebrate the magic and richness of the performing arts from around the world.”