The VIPP Report: Introducing you to the West Louisville Performing Arts Academy

By Sherlene Shanklin

In today’s Your Story. Their name has changed but their music remains the same bringing all genres of music to West Louisville. I talk to the founder about their success. You recognize them as the West Louisville Boys Choir. 

In 1990, McDaniel Bluitt started The West Louisville Performing Arts Academy originally named the Moore Temple Boys Choir.  In 2002, the choir expanded by adding girls to the program. 

McDaniel says “We started the program because kids needed a way they can be engaged positively and doing the kinds of things that can make them productive members of the community.” 

Two current students, Sylvia Lontz and Alexandria Bluitt were introduced to the program differently but both believe it’s an amazing opportunity and everyone feels like family. 

Sylvia Lontz is heading to Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) this fall.  She says “I personally found out about this choir from my former choir director at Central High School.  He introduced it to me.  I though it would be an amazing opportunity for me and my younger sister.” 

Alexandria Bluitt is currently in high school but understands the importance of legacy.  She says “I’ve been in this choir ever since I was 4 or 5 years old.  Considering my grandparents started the choir.  This choir gave me a sense of family, not because they started it but because of the connections I made with people in this choir.”

The program is a melting pot of talents discovered within each child.  A. Bluitt goes on to say “It gives me a sense of structure.  For me personally anyway and I believe everyone needs a foundation to build on top of.”

M. Bluitt says “It’s a part of our slogan its more than just music…its more than just singing because children bring with us whatever they have with them at the time.  Some have training prior to coming to me while others haven’t.” 

They’ve had a chance to travel and perform all over the world from Bahamas to Las Vegas, and all over the state of Kentucky.  With that exposure caused some of his former students to think out of the box.   Key’mon Murrah & Kay’mon Murrah both participated in the program.  As adults they are both classically trained. 

Key’mon is moving to New York.  He says “I’m going to Juilliard in the fall for a graduate diploma. And then I have me Opera debut this winter.”

Kay’mon remains in the area to help others interested in the arts.  He says “I’m working with Kentucky Opera at various events but right now im working as a board member for the public arts commission in Lexington, KY. So that’s been really fulfilling. “

Mr. Bluitt says “Music evolves its never to stay the same.” And so does its leadership. His son Joshua will take the helm and carry on the tradition.  Bluitt says he will still be around consulting and help counsel but feels it’s the right time to pass the baton so his son can take the program even further. 

McDaniel says “One of the things its accomplishing its helping to dispel the myth in the minds of so many people.  Not just Black people, White people m Jewish people not just men but men and women.  They get a chance to see the program that’s holistic.  They get a chance to see the program as positive and believe it or not got their children in it. That’s ongoing and I’m proud of that.” 

Kay’mon says “You have to be open for new things and be willing to absorb it all. I really believe once you start that process you will be able to fly anywhere.”

The West Louisville Performing Arts Academy has a 100% graduation rate and they now enjoy new home for their program.  You can now find their studio in the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage at 17th and West Ali.  To support go to www.wlpaa.org

►Contact Your Story’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. 

To see the story, click the link below.

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/west-louisville-boys-choir-community-impact/417-4eb6cf86-d4de-447d-8908-f17c26b0b202

The VIPP Report: Louisville church surpasses the silver and gold anniversaries and now Mount Olive hits a historic number of 119 years

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Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church 

(Louisville, KY) There’s only been three pastors who’ve served at the helm of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church.  On Sunday, February 24, 2019 the church will celebrate it’s 119th anniversary.

The anniversary will begin at 9:30 a.m. for Sunday School, followed by morning worship at 11:00 a.m. featuring the Anniversary Reunion Choir and Rev. Chris Hagan, pastor of Second Baptist Church of Owenton, Ky.

Dinner will be served. Following dinner, members and guests will return to the sanctuary at 3:00 p.m. for a special tribute for our retiring pastor Rev. Shanklin.

Shanklin, only the third pastor after 119 years has served 35 years as pastor and on Easter Sunday he will preach his last sermon at Mt. Olive.

The church along with our family life center is located on several acres on East Kentucky Street.

Please post and/or announce Mount Olive’s 119th Church Anniversary.  We also invite you to come worship and fellowship with us on Sunday, February 24th.

We will also update you closer to Easter Sunday plans for Rev. Alex Shanklin’s retirement.  If you would like to setup an interview with Rev. Shanklin and/or some of their members, please contact Sis. Barbara Leavell and/or Sherlene Shanklin at VIPP Communications by email at info@vippcommunications.com.

If you have a story idea, send it to thevippreport@vippcommunications.com.  Follow us on Twitter @thevippreport @vippcomm and Instagram @vippcommunications.

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The VIPP Report: West Louisville Boys and Girls Choirs will be in concert

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THE HOPE AWARDS GIVE YOUTH SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT WHERE EXCELLENCE HITS A HIGH NOTE

(Louisville, KY) The West Louisville Performing Arts Academy (WLPAA) d.b.a. West Louisville Boys and West Louisville Girls Choirs, (WLBC/WLGC) announces their 19th Annual Hope Christmas Awards Dinner Concert on Saturday, December 1st at the University Club on the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus.  The dinner concert will begin at 6:00 p.m.

This year’s McDaniel Bluitt Hope Award recipient is Manfred Reid.  The current chairman for the West Louisville Performing Arts Academy.  The Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.  In 2017, Mr. Reid received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Award given by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.   This year’s emcees will be husband and wife team, Entrepreneur and community leader Lacy and Barbara Sexton Smith, Metro Councilwoman for District 4.

We invite you to come out and support the choirs, our honoree and other special guests.  Tickets for the 19th Annual Hope Awards are $100 for adults and $50 for students.  They can be purchased at 323 West Broadway, Artspace, 4th floor.  For more information, please contact McDaniel Bluitt at 502-376-7840.

Members of the Boys & Girls Choirs rehearse twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The WLPAA is more than just singing.  They offer college scholarships, After School Tutorials, private Acoustic Guitar lessons and performance opportunities locally and statewide.

If you would like to set up an interview with Bluitt, Founder/Director of the West Louisville Performing Arts Academy please contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com. For additional information go to http://www.westlouisvilleperformingarts.org.

History

West Louisville Boys Choir began in November 1990. The choir is directed by McDaniel Bluitt, a retired vocal music teacher with twenty-nine (29) years of experience. He received his B. M. ED. from the University of Louisville School Of Music and a Masters in Counseling from Western Kentucky University. The Boys Choir has performed throughout the commonwealth, for mayors, governors other national dignitaries. The Boys Choir’s first European Tour established international prominence in Paris, France and London, England. They received a superior rating during their first international music competition in the Bahamas. They were also awarded first place in the Music Festival at Sea.

The West Louisville Girls Choir made its debut in November 2002. The choir is directed by Mrs. Mamie Bluitt who received her B.M.ED. from the University of Louisville School of Music. The Girls Choir is also a performing choir.   Some of its more notable performances are: Governor Patton’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in Frankfort, Kentucky, ECHO, Women for Women Conference and at Cincinnati’s National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Their first Southwestern Tour to Texas was held in 2010.