LARCHMONT, N.Y. – The Voracious Reader bookstore honored Black History Month on Sunday in Larchmont with a jazz and classical music brunch, with special guests from New Rochelle's Bennett Academy of the Performing Arts.
"The contributions that black Americans have made to music are phenomenal," said Francine Lucidon, owner of The Voracious Reader. "We love to hear about young musicians and talented members of the community."
Lucidon connected with Andrea Bennett, owner and musical director of the Bennett Academy, to organize Sunday's performance. Bennett is thinking about moving to Mamaroneck, and she came upon the Larchmont bookshop while checking out cute spots in the area.
"I'm a book fanatic, so I came in and asked Francine if she's interested in some entertainment, and she said sure," Bennett said. "Black History Month is a great time to come together for this event."
The Bennett Academy Troubadours, made up of O'Shane Stainrod, Richard Anthony, Macarme Augustin, Isma Augustin, Kevin Destin and K.J. Manigaulte, were there to perform. Bennett said it was the children's idea to form the band. "I want to be supportive of their creative ideas; I thought it was a great thing to do," she said.
The six young musicians played a rock version of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," a jazz rendition of Eric Satie's "Gymnopédie," Alicia Keys' "Unthinkable," a Negro spiritual, "Motherless Child" and a few others.
Manigaulte, 7, played Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" as a piano solo.
"I like learning about music," he said. "I've learned about Scott Joplin, Mozart and Beethoven."
"Getting involved with the academy has helped K.J. develop in so many other areas, too," said Khalil Manigaulte, K.J.'s father. "It's really good for him."
Krystal Zell, who lives in Larchmont, was there with her 2-year-old daughter, Charlotte. "The nice weather brought us out, and we just stumbled upon this," Zell said. "I didn't know the event was going on, but it's a pleasant surprise. Charlotte dancing – she loves it."
Lucidon said she wants the shop to be a venue where members of the community can share. "Music really just adds a whole other dimension to the store. I wish we could have them here ever day."