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“Arts Across America” Virtual Performances
Jontavious Wills
Savannah Music Festival (SMF) – a leading nonprofit performing arts organization presenting world-class musical performances in historic Savannah, Ga. – is joining forces with South Arts to present two special virtual performances that will be part of The Kennedy Center’s ongoing Arts Across America series. The free performances will be streamed on Thursday, November 5 at 4 p.m. ET on the Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America Facebook page, YouTube channel and

The Savannah Music Festival’s Nov. 5 Arts Across America episode, presented in partnership with South Arts, will feature a live performance by Greenville, Georgia blues musician Jontavious Willis and “Just You, Just Me: A Musical Conversation Between the Drum and the Voice” featuring acclaimed drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. and vocalist Juquan Vickers performing African-American spirituals.

“We’re thrilled to present artists who reflect the powerful music of our region and to share their work with a national audience,” said Savannah Music Festival Artistic Director Ryan McMaken. “We invite everyone to enjoy these exceptional performances featuring Jontavious Willis, and Ulysses Owens Jr. and Juquan Vickers on November 5.”

Jontavious Willis and Ulysses Owens Jr. will each perform live at the 2021 Savannah Music Festival, which will take place in outdoor and socially distanced settings in historic Savannah, Ga. on May 18-30, 2021. In addition to being a versatile drummer and percussionist, Owens currently serves as Artistic Educator in Residence for SMF Jazz Academy, an after-school program providing instrumental training to young musicians throughout coastal Georgia.

The Arts Across America performances are part of a creative collaboration with arts organizations from coast to coast. The series offers 20 weeks of free online programming and showcases more than 200 diverse, visionary artists who exemplify unique regional artistic styles and use music and the arts as tools for advocacy and social justice.

Arts Across America is designed to uplift artists and showcase art from communities and regions across the country during a challenging time and will run through December 11, 2020. Artists engaged to participate in Arts Across America presentations include six-time Grammy Award-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride, children’s literature author and poet Kwame Alexander and musician, singer and record producer Aloe Blacc.

“I had the pleasure of being the first artist in the Kennedy Center’s Couch Concerts Series,” said Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center’s Artistic Director for Jazz. “Since then, many artists have chimed in to stream their art directly into homes. With the expansion of our mission, more artists will have an opportunity to share their expressions while engaging a wounded country. The arts will continue to keep a record, and Arts Across America will be an important documentation for the present and the future.”

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About Savannah Music Festival A leading nonprofit performing arts organization, the Savannah Music Festival (SMF) is dedicated to presenting world-class celebrations of the musical arts by creating timeless and adventurous productions that stimulate arts education, foster economic growth and unite artists and audiences in Savannah. In addition to year-round music education and broadcast initiatives, SMF has produced one of the most distinctive multi-genre music festivals in the world for more than three decades. The 2021 Savannah Music Festival will take place May 18-30, showcasing live outdoor and socially distanced performances at historic venues in downtown Savannah. Hailed by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution as “one of the gleaming musical treasures of the Southeast” and by the Toronto Star as “one of North America’s most distinctive musical events,” the Savannah Music Festival has featured more than 2,000 artists over the past three decades. For more information, visit

About South Arts South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit