[Photo by Efrain Ribeiro]
On July 1st, 2023, the weather was overcast and threatening thunderstorms. Nonetheless, Todd Marcus was able to gather more than two hundred people to the Harris-Marcus Center in the Black Arts District, 1947 Pennsylvania Ave, Baltimore. The Baltimore Jazz Alliance was one of the sponsors of the event. The occasion was to pay homage to Barbara Grubbs for her commitment of service in the areas of music, arts, and public events in Baltimore, Maryland.
Also in support of the event, as a guest, was husband Carl Grubbs performing live along with an all-star group of musicians. His ensemble included a string section and several noted musicians, including nationally-known Eric Kennedy (drums), Blake Meister (bass), Allyn Johnson (piano), and a horn section featuring Ephraim and Ebban Dorsey, Todd Marcus, and Carl Grubbs. Together, they performed many of the compositions that have made Grubbs a jazz legend.
As a cool-jazz-like breeze comforted the crowd, the event commenced with a succession of accolades for Mrs. Grubbs, presented by various community organizations, including Contemporary Arts, Inc., Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, and Intersection of Change. Friends and students also offered their praise of Mrs. Grubbs life-changing support, inspiration, and encouragement. Special acknowledgement of Mrs. Grubbs’s commitment of service in Maryland was also offered by Maryland Governor Wes Moore.
Todd Marcus, who has known the Grubbs for over a quarter century, noted, “I wanted to pay tribute to [the Grubbses] and all they have done in support of our community and musicians for so many years. It was special to celebrate Carl by rehearsing and performing his music. And because Mrs. Grubbs is an organizer and administrator who works behind the scenes, I wanted to put her into the spotlight with everyone’s remarks and a tribute video so she could see how loved and appreciated she is too!”
Mrs. Barbara Grubbs was presented with “roses of love.” In response to the honor, she offered the following insight: ” I was a teacher for many years before I became an activist for the arts and music. It’s been a labor of love. What other job can you have, where you help preserve a wonderful culture such as arts and music, while partying at the same time?”
Baltimore’s cultural scene is strong, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Carl and Barbara Grubbs.
–By Steve Everette
Steve Everette, MBA, has been a BJA board member for 10 years. He loves the bass guitar. Steve is the founder and owner of the Business Concepts Group.