Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online

Alphonso's Gold

February 25, 2017
1:00 p.m.

In celebration of Black History Month, the Fort Smith Museum of History will present a documentary on Alphonso Trent. The documentary, Alphonso's Gold, is a retrospective look at the history of the Alphonso Trent Orchestra from the point of view of America’s first orchestra-singer, John Fielding portrayed by Ryk St. Vincent, Little Rock actor and jazz musician. Produced by John McIntosh, Dr. Henry Rinne, Chris Cameron, Mike Hart, and Five Star Productions, the documentary will be shown on Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 pm. Free with museum admission: $7 adults, $2 children, under age six are free. Alphonso Trent was born in Fort Smith on October 24, 1902 to Professor E. O. and Hattie Trent, prominent citizens of the city. A gifted pianist and natural leader, Trent organized the Alphonso Trent Orchestra, encouraging strong technique and performance ability, influencing many young African American musicians. The first professional performance was in Eureka Springs in the early 1920s. Broadcasting on WFAA in 1925, from the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, the Alphonso Trent Orchestra was the first black band to broadcast live for audiences across central United States and Canada. The orchestra was known as a "territory band," common in the 1920's, and played a variety of regional engagements. The Alphonso Trent Orchestra was a sophisticated dance band playing for fashionable audiences during the “Jazz Age,” a time of prosperity in the United States. “I’d say that Trent’s band gave inspiration to more young musicians than any other.” Jimmie Lunsford, Esquire's 1947 Jazz Book.

Admission: Free with museum admission: $7 adults, $2 children under 6 free.

Event Location and Contact Information:
Fort Smith Museum of History
320 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, Arkansas


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