Florida Avenue Baptist Church (FABC), in partnership with Faces of Our Children (FOOC), will feature a rare musical talent to raise awareness of a not so rare disease – sickle cell anemia. Urban jazz harmonicist Frédéric Yonnet headlines “Mo’ Than Jazz” Sickle Cell Awareness Benefit Concert on Nov. 20 at 4 p.m.
Yonnet, who has toured most recently with music icon Prince, and often performs dueling harmonica duets with the legendary Stevie Wonder, knows first-hand the painful affects of the inherited disease as his niece suffers from sickle cell anemia. “When you have sickle cell disease in your family, you’re constantly threatened by its painful recurring attacks.
Because we all know someone with the disease or trait, it’s important that we support programs that promote awareness, research and therapy,” said Yonnet in a press statement.
The concert benefits Faces of Our Children, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness and funds to fight sickle cell in children and adults. Pre-concert activities take place from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and include a free children’s harmonica workshop facilitated by Yonnet, sickle cell screening and informational exhibits. The concert also features gospel/jazz artist Steven B, and the Florida Avenue Baptist Church Adoration Choir.
Florida Avenue Baptist Church’s outreach ministry, which has served the greater Washington area for nearly 100 years, hosts "Mo’ Than Jazz" live concerts every three months.
“When you’re fighting this kind of battle, you’ve got to get aggressive,” said Dr. Earl D. Trent Jr., senior pastor of the church, in a press release. “Yonnet's modern style and “in your face” method to the harmonica, is the same approach we’re using to raise awareness of the blood disorder that affects approximately 15 percent of African-American children.”
Within the U.S., sickle cell is most prevalent in the African-American community and more than two million Americans carry the sickle cell trait. Sickle cell anemia occurs in one out of every 500 African-American births, and another one in 12 carries the trait.
“A child in sickle cell crisis suffers excruciating pain and it is emotionally draining for the family and the caregivers. By raising awareness we can significantly reduce the number of children who suffer,” said Trent. “It is part of the Christian mandate to aid those who are sick and our commitment is to be unceasing in rallying persons, churches and other organizations to support this cause.”
Florida Avenue Baptist Church is located at 623 Florida Avenue, N.W. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. For more information, call 202-667-3409 or visit www.FLAVBC.org to purchase tickets.