Since 2006, listeners of WSGE, Gaston College’s on-air radio station, have been invited to hear “the coolest sounds around” on the weekly R&B House Party from 7 to 9 p.m. each Saturday night. The hosts of this program, which features old school R&B and Funk music, are Tyrone Jefferson and his wife Toni Tupponce.
Jefferson is the founder of A Sign of the Times of the Carolinas, a non-profit music organization dedicated to improving the community through cultural productions and educational programs that positively reflect the heritage of African Americans. He is also a music arranger and composer and served as the music director for the legendary entertainer James Brown. He worked with Brown on and off for over 25 years, and considers himself fortunate to have collaborated with the musicians who backed Brown in his heyday as well as those who performed with the artist in his later years.
An accomplished trombonist, Jefferson is a featured player in the six bands that perform under the A Sign of the Times umbrella, including big bands, swing and R&B groups, a bebop ensemble, jazz and R&B ensembles, and the ASOTT Jazz and R&B Duo/Trio and The Essence of A Sign of The Times, which features Jefferson and his wife Toni, a talented vocalist.
In a March 2006 interview with the webpage Weird Charlotte, Jefferson expressed his discouragement with the lack of commitment and character among Charlotte-area musicians. Today, his assessment of the local music scene is much more positive. He feels the educational programs that A Sign of the Times offers and the organization and its bands’ dedication to professionalism and high caliber performances may have set an example for other musicians to emulate.
Jefferson is the producer of The State of Black Music, a monthly public access television show. He is intensely interested in spreading awareness of music and sounds from the African Diaspora and in exploring the commonalities of Black and Brown people through their rich heritage of music and dance.
The weekly R&B House Party show on WSGE is starting to attract new, enthusiastic listeners and Jefferson would like to see the station add even more diversity to its eclectic programming by including Afro-Cuban, Latin and Salsa into its musical mix.
Jefferson places great value in the concepts of “the connectivity of humanity displayed through the universality of music” and “making the world a better place through the medium of music.” His work with A Sign of the Times and at WSGE gives him the platforms from which to share those values throughout the region. He talks more about his concepts in the January/February issue of Gaston Lifestyles featured in Arts section.
In Celebration of Black History Month in February, Mr. Jefferson will host a special radio program during The R&B House Party segment on WSGE, “The Heart And Soul Of American Music,” will highlight over a century in music each Saturday from 7 – 8 p.m. He will examine the role of music from the black community and how it’s impacted American culture. The show schedules are: February 7 – Music 1900 to 1925, February 14 – Music 1925 to 1950, February 21 – Music 1950 to 1975 and February 28– Music 1975 and beyond.
Also, The Multicultural Advisory Committee will host a Black History Celebration featuring musical “Hits from the Past 50 Years,” with a live performance of the Sign of the Times Band on Wednesday, February 11, 2015. This event is free and open to the public.
For more information about A Sign of the Times, visit www.ASignoftheTimes.org.