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Free Event

Blackball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues featuring the Marcus Shelby Quintet

Concerts at the Presidio

Concerts at the Presidio Blackball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues featuring the Marcus Shelby Quintet

A musical suite composed by bandleader and bassist Marcus Shelby that celebrates the history of Negro League baseball, which lasted for 60 years during segregation in the United States. The music highlights the careers of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and Jackie Robinson, who paved the way for Civil Rights after being the first black player in major league baseball. For the Presidio presentation, Blackball will be performed by the Marcus Shelby Quintet and three actors, who will tell the story through monologues and songs, and will recreate some of the on-field action.

During the era of the Negro Leagues, “shadow ball” and “clowning” were a part of the game, which promoted its entertainment and musical value along with its athletic sportsmanship. The suite covers the history of baseball, the segregation of baseball, the creation of the Negro Leagues, their rise and fall, and the breaking of the color line by Jackie Robinson in 1947. The actors will tell the story through monologues and songs, and will recreate some of the on-field action, including “shadow ball,”“clowning,” and swings and misses—all narrated by an announcer. The music is also a celebration of the history of the blues, which parallels the history of black baseball in unique and similar ways.

Blackball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues was commissioned by the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival with generous support from the MAP Fund and premiered on September 8, 2018 at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival featuring the Marcus Shelby Orchestra, vocal ensemble, and a cast of five actors. For the Presidio presentation, Blackball will be performed by the Marcus Shelby Quintet and three actors. Over the past year, Marcus Shelby has given multiple lecture presentations on the history of the Negro Leagues, and serves as the narrator and other characters in the musical piece.

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Program

Marcus Shelby

Blackball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues

Performers

Marcus Shelby

Band leader