During the first Sunday in April, AAMI will be going back to its roots by holding Louisi-Ann’s Gumbo Fest at St. James’ Sumpter Hall. Participants will be treated to an afternoon of delicious, home cooked gumbo while being serenaded by Jimmy Sapienza of Five Guys Named Moe fame.
The idea for the Gumbo fest came about when Dr. J. took a group of people to the French Quarter in Louisiana.
“I don’t know if the restaurant wasn’t prepared for such a large group or what, but the gumbo was terrible and when we came back to Pittsburgh I said we should have an event to let people taste real gumbo,” Dr. J. said.
Pam’s sister cooked the gumbo and the event became an instant hit. When Pam’s sister passed away 10 years ago, she passed the gumbo cooking-baton to Pam’s daughter who cooks the gumbo for the popular event.
Another one of the institute’s popular events is the Father’s Day tribute, which features the AAMI boys’ choir. It will be held on Father’s Day at a yet-to-be determined location.
Pam started the boys’ choir more than 20 years ago as a way to bring attention to AAMI. She pulled everyone who was taking music lessons at the institute and created the choir, which has become one of the school’s most popular groups.
Both Pam and James have high hopes for AAMI’s next 30 years.
“I hope the next generation takes AAMI over. When we started this we were in our early 30’s,” Pam said. “Half of our lives have been spent with this.”
For more information on the Afro American Music Institute visit http://www.afromaericanmusic.org or call 412-241-6775.