2023 Entertainment



6:00 PM – 9:30 PM


Anita Michelle Jackson

Anita Jackson

Anita Jackson is a native of St. Louis, Missouri who returned home after living in New York City for twelve years. She is a graduate of the American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York and has performed extensively nationally and internationally in theater productions, concerts and workshops. She has recorded and performed as a background vocalist for several artists in the music industry.


She recorded as a background vocalist for Bette Midler on her acclaimed song “From a Distance” which won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1991; as a background vocalist for Patti Austin on “I Can Move this Mountain”; and Mariah Carey on “Anytime You Need a Friend”.  Anita has toured and performed as a background vocalist for recording artist Chico DeBarge on his “Long Time, No See” album which was released in 1997.  His national tour featured the artist Joe, and Erykah Badu with whom Anita was blessed to perform and tour.  She is a background vocalist on Cissy Houston’s 1996 Grammy award winning “Face to Face” album which won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album of 1996, as well as her “He Leadeth Me” album which won the Grammy award in the same category in 1997.

As a gospel BGV, Anita has performed with Shirley Caesar, the late Albertina Walker, Dorothy Norwood and Tramaine Hawkins. Anita was a featured vocalist on the 2014 “Reach Week in New York City” live recording for New Hope for the World Ministries recorded in Harlem, New York under the auspices of Rev. Terrance L. Kennedy and New Hope Community Church, which also featured national gospel artist Vickie Winans and New York’s own  Melanie Daniels. With New Hope for the World Ministries, Anita has been blessed to be a featured missionary vocalist in Entebbe, Uganda and Buenos Aires, Argentina.


In St. Louis, Anita has been a featured player with the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre. She has performed as a featured player in “Gospel at Colonus”, “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, “Crowns”, as Caroline in “Caroline or Change” and as the Lady in “Blues in the Night” for which she was nominated for a St. Louis Kevin Kline Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Anita performed as Bertha in “Hello from Bertha” at the inaugural Tennessee Williams festival in St. Louis under the direction of David Kaplan.  She was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama by the St. Louis Theatre Circle for her performance.  Recently, she performed the role of Grandma Dorothy in the new film “A New Holiday”, a Christmas celebration based on the life of a young Thelma Steward, wife of Dave Steward of World Wide Technologies, directed by Brian Owens for Nine PBS.


She has appeared as a featured vocalist with several jazz, R&B, soul, blues and gospel musical groups in and around St. Louis at venues such as Jazz, St. Louis (formally Jazz at the Bistro) to BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups to the St. Louis Ethical Society to the Heman Park Starlight Concert Series to the Sheldon Concert Hall – as a solo artist, as well as a collaborative artist with many of St. Louis’ finest musicians and groups.


Anita accepted a fellowship as a resident artist with the Kranzberg Arts Foundation (KAF) as a featured jazz performance and recording artist in 2018, releasing a jazz compilation EP with her fellow KAF artists-in-residence from the Dark Room series at the Grandel with her own original composition called “Your Time” written with Phillip Graves, Joshua Crump and Jeff Taylor.


Anita gives thanks to the family of Christ and praises God for HIS matchless goodness and mercy.


She dedicates all her performances to her late mom, Barbara Marie Jackson; her late aunts, Marian Ashford and Jackie Broom; and to her beautiful daughter, Christian Reignah-Lee for giving her so much strength.

anita jackson 2022 Excellence in the Arts Recipient
Anita Michelle Jackson 2022
2023 Anita Michelle Jackson head-shot_orig


10:00 AM – 11:30 AM


Lanny & Julie

Lanny & Julie

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM


Bill Pushe

Bill Puhse 2022 JHarris

1:45 PM – 3:30 PM


Dusty James & Abalone Pearl

Stool no guitar color

Dusty James & Abalone Pearl Both Dusty and Pearl began playing as teens in folk venues and coffee houses where they honed their instrumental skills and the art of crafting tight vocal harmonies. Each possesses in-depth knowledge of the music they perform in their repertoire. The styles are varied and include traditional folk, roots, singer-songwriter, classic country, blues, Americana, original songs and surprises. They invite the audience into the scene by conveying the joy that goes with performing tunes that hold special significance for them. The duo was named a top finalist in the 2021 Great American Song Contest for the song lyrics “Here You See Me Standing,” competing against 1900 other songwriters from 42 countries. Dusty James (guitar, mandolin, harmonica, vocals) started playing and singing when he was very young. His influences included Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt and Merle Travis. Over the years, he has appeared in numerous settings, both locally and nationally, including A Prairie Home Companion and CBS Radio and he has had the privilege of performing on stage with the likes of Roland White and Doc Watson, among others. Dusty was a winner in the guitar competition at the famed Walnut Valley Festival (Winfield, KS) in 1981 and a finalist in 1977 and 1994.

Abalone Pearl (guitar, banjo, autoharp, dulcimer, kazoo, washboard, vocals) started playing guitar at age 12 when she was inspired by Bob Dylan, Jean Ritchie, Mike Seeger, Memphis Minnie, The Carter Family, Robert Johnson and the folk movement of the 1960s. She became a professional musician at age 15, playing in coffee houses and other venues. Pearl has had a long and abiding interest in music history and owned a popular record/CD store for many years

3:45 PM – 5:00 PM


Todd Carrier

5:30 PM – 8:00 PM


Sweetie & The Toothaches

Sweetie and the Toothaches 2


Get ready for a total knockout as St. Louis heavy hitters Sweetie & The Toothaches give you ring side seats to the best Jump Blues in the midwest! Specializing in 1940’s through 1960’s R&B, jump blues and blues ballads, St. Louis’ premier jump blues band, Sweetie & The Toothaches will have you stomping your feet and shaking your hips when you hear powerhouse vocalist and band leader Emilie “Sweetie” Richard belt out tunes such as “Farewell Blues” and “Bigger Fool” alongside her phenomenal Toothaches. Be prepared to sink your teeth into this hot jump blues bands personal brand of fresh smoked rhythms, sweet & salty harmonies and lip sizzling solos. There’s no doubt that after you hear this bands monster swinging energy that you’ll be left with a permanent sweet tooth!


11:00 AM – 12:30 PM


Jay Dover

Jay Dover

1:15 PM – 2:45 PM


Louis Michael

Louis Michael

3:15 PM – 5:00 PM


Mark Biehl

Mark Beihl
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