Centennial: Get a Little Soul at the Fox

February 6, 2012

By Teya Vitu

Whatever you think of soul music, Kevin and Tanishia Hamilton will give you a whole new way to look at it with their Centennial Soul Celebration.

Kevin Hamilton would rather describe the February 10 event at the Fox Theatre as a show than a concert.

“It’s a variety show,” Hamilton said. “My shows are a bit different. It’s not just an opener and a lead act. I like to mix the artists in. We go from one thing to the next. My shows are kind of like plays. People will get a celebration of soul music, dance and literature.”

2nd Saturdays and Tucson Meet Yourself audiences have experienced the Hamilton’s Southwest Soul Circuit products before, but don’t think you know what to expect for this 7 p.m. show at the Fox.

“This is going to be totally different,” Hamilton promises.”2nd Saturdays is more a festival, laid back. Our stage shows are heavily produced. There are some theatrical elements and poetic elements.”

Yes, poetry at a soul music extravaganza that will include the Afro-Brazilian music and dancers of the popular local group Batucaxé, former American Idol contestant Crystal Stark, national recording artist Neaman Lyles, and Mark and Arlette Willis, straight from Motown – Detroit.

Tucsonans Kevin and Tanishia Hamilton themselves are vocalists and musicians and will lead the performers.

They have pledged to infuse the Southwest with soul music with their Southwest Soul Circuit, which produces shows in Tucson, Phoenix, Sierra Vista, San Diego, Albuquerque, El Paso and Dallas. He also teaches local children voice and piano at his Studio Kevin Hamilton.

Kevin is from Nashville. He followed family to Tucson, and chose to stay here exactly because Tucson is not the center of the soul universe.

“I believe God wants me out here,” Hamilton said.

The Centennial Soul Celebration during the Arizona Centennial Celebration Downtown Tucson gives the Hamiltons the biggest stage to share a culture perhaps not all that well known here.

“It’s a mainstream event,” Hamilton said. “To me, this is the best way to celebrate diversity.”

Remember, this is a variety show. Hamilton will also have a segment to honor his 1st Annual Harmony Award recipients: Gabrielle Giffords, Olympian LaTanya Sheffield, James “Big Jim” Griffith, Judge Ron Wilson, Donna Liggins and Marie Cephers.

“We want to recognize individuals who have bridged the gap as far as diversity is concerned,” said Hamilton, noting that Giffords would have been honored even without the tragedy on January 8, 2011. “She’s always been kind to the African-American community.”

Like many other performers and presenters, Hamilton cherishes the Fox Theatre, which has been getting more and more national praise.

“I think of all the halls I’ve played in the Southwest, the Fox is the best,” Hamilton said. “I’ve brought interesting artists to Tucson and they’re awed with the Fox.”