Voices AMPLIFIED! Past Events

Voices AMPLIFIED! is a thematic series of music, dance, spoken word and visual arts that celebrates artists from diverse cultures and connects the Omaha community with opportunities for discussion, reflection and new experiences. All events are free and open to all.

Explore past events:

Voices AMPLIFIED 23/24 Season

September 16, 2023

Community Spotlight: One Community Cultural Festival
1:00 to 9:00 PM | Gene Leahy Mall (1001 Douglas St.)
The One Community Cultural Festival, organized by the Nebraska Chinese Association, celebrates the diversity of the cultures, traditions and people in Omaha through dance, song, food and commerce at the annual community festival. O-pa will support this year’s event as part of the Voices AMPLIFIED! season. Learn more about the day’s events here.

October 11, 2023

Hip Hop Lab Culture Talk: “Scratch That” Featuring Hi-Tek, Lite Pole and Marcey Yates, moderated by Kethro
7:30 PM│ Scott Recital Hall in the Holland Center
Hip Hop is more than an art form, it’s a culture with a rich 50-year legacy! Join us for our next Hip Hop Lab culture talk exploring music production, sampling and more with Cincinnati Rapper & Producer Hi-Tek, and Omaha's Lite Pole and Artist, Producer and Founder of Culxr House Marcey Yates, moderated by Audio Engineer & DJ, Kethro.

Watch the live stream here.

November 11, 2023

The Art of Remembering: An Inside Look at Las Cafeteras' “Hasta La Muerte”
11:00 AM│ Omaha South High School (4519 S. 24th St.)
Modern roots band Las Cafeteras returns to Omaha with “Hasta La Muerte,” a multi-dimensional Day of the Dead celebration. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the performance during a conversation with the band presented in partnership with the Hispanic Arts Center of Omaha.  

December 15, 2023

Feeding the Family: Honoring the Past while Feeding the Future featuring Alan Wang and Carol Wang

5:30 PM│ Virtual
Join us for another tasty cook-along with No More Empty Pots! They are back with another virtual culinary experience, this time elevating Asian cuisine and culture. Provided food kits are no longer available, but you can still grab the ingredients yourself and follow along!


Spring Rolls recipe
Buddha's Delight (Vegetarian Lo Han Jai) recipe

Watch on O-pa's YouTube


January 17 & 18, 2024

Year of The Dragon: A Lunar New Year Celebration with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
7:00 PM│ Nebraska Chinese Association (8206 Blondo St.)
When the acclaimed Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company visits Omaha to celebrate the Lunar New Year, they will also teach two dance workshops for the local community in partnership with the Nebraska Chinese Association.            

February 8, 2024

Asian American Voices in Theater
6:30 PM│BLUEBARN Theatre (1106 S 10th St.)

Join us for a jam-packed night celebrating Asian American Voices in Theater! Before watching BLUEBARN Theatre's production of The Great Leap, experience a lion dance and a preshow discussion with Sarah Luo from the Nebraska Chinese Association, actor Jimmy Nguyen and actor/director Wai Yim.  *The first 35 registrants will get a free ticket to The Great Leap. One ticket per registration, only valid for the Feb. 8 performance. 

March 7, 2024

Girl, Let's Talk: A Conversation with Women in the Arts moderated by Kathy Tyree
7:00 PM│Pear Tree Performing Arts (4801 NW Radial Hwy)
Sisters, let’s chat! Join Kathy Tyree, Denise Chapman, Celeste Butler and Alexis Arai, an all-star lineup of women excelling and making moves in the local and national arts industry.

April 5, 2024

Shattering the Norm: An Inside Look into TAIKOPROJECT's Benzaiten
7:00 PM│ The Venue at Highlander (2120 N 30th St.)
Drumming troupe TAIKOPROJECT’s latest full-length work shatters gender stereotypes. Channeling the Japanese goddess, Benzaiten unites Japanese drumming tradition with modern American innovation. Join the all-star San Francisco-based company for a free discussion and drum demonstration for community members before they perform at the Orpheum Theater on April 6.

April 25, 2024

"Earth Tones:" Connecting Creativity, Conservation and Communities featuring jazz master, Etienne Charles
7:30 PM│Kiewit Luminarium (345 Riverfront Dr.)
Etienne Charles is a jazz musician, teacher, social justice advocate and avid environmental conservationist. Learn how he is bridging the creativity of music and science to tell compelling stories of significant environmental challenges in marginalized communities through music and dance. This event is free with a Night Light ticket. Space is limited. Reserve your seat through the Kiewit Luminarium. You'll be able to explore the Luminarium between 7-10 PM in addition to attending the Voices AMPLIFIED! event!

May 9, 2024

Asian American Voices in Fashion
7:00 PM│Millwork Commons (1229 Millwork Ave)
Omaha’s Fashion Arts Collective and O-pa are partnering again to bring fashion to the forefront. This year’s event will highlight Asian culture, artists and influences in the fashion industry.

Voices AMPLIFIED 22/23 Season

September 30, 2022
Continued Conversation: Terence Blanchard - Jazz Master Class

1:30 PM │Salem Baptist Church (3131 Lake St.)
Join us for a free jazz master class with the most prolific jazz musician to ever compose for motion pictures. Renowned trumpeter & composer Terence Blanchard has been commissioned by symphonies, jazz bands, pop artists, collaborated with director Spike Lee and became the first African American composer to be staged by the Metropolitan Opera to worldwide acclaim with "Fire Shut Up in My Bones." Livestream available

Terence Blanchard will also perform on Friday, September 30 at 7:30 PM at the Holland Center!
Note: The Breaking Boundaries Q&A originally scheduled for Sept. 29 has been canceled.

October 13, 2022
Salsa y Jazz: Una mezcla de Sabores Musicales
Salsa and Jazz: A Mixing of Musical Flavors
5:30 PM │Cumbia (329 S 16th St #1)
An in-person and livestreamed panel discussion on the influence of salsa and the musical traditions of Latin America on jazz featuring jazz legend and guest artist Sammy Figueroa and local Omaha salsa and jazz musicians, moderated by Alexis Arai.

Sammy Figueroa will also perform on Friday, October 14 at 7:30 PM in the Holland Music Club!





November 10, 2022
La Fuerza de la Moda 
The Power of Fashion
8:15 PM │ Fashion Arts Collective studios (1141 N. 11th St.)
Omaha's Fashion Arts Collective showcases some of the best local Latino talent in the Fashion design industry in this red-carpet style fashion show.

December 11, 2022

La Cocina de Abuela
Abuela’s Kitchen
4 PM │Virtual, streamed on Facebook and Youtube
No More Empty Pots will lead another do-it-yourself cooking demonstration along with a conversation about the vast impact of Latino culture on food. View recipe for Arroz Mamposteao and Pupusas.

Stream here:



January 19, 2023
Rhymes and Reason Vol. 2: ¡Levantate!
Stand Up!

6:30 PM │Culxr House (3014 N 24th St.) 
In-person and livestreamed panel discussion with local artists DJ Kethro, Marcey Yates, Conny Franko, and Stylo on the Latino influence on hip hop culture. Registration required.



January 31, 2023

Continued Conversation with Wynton Marsalis
6:30 PM │Salem Baptist Church
*This event was originally scheduled at 5:30 PM

Join us for an evening of intimate conversation with Wynton Marsalis as he steps away from the stage to speak with Markey Montague, Minister of Music, at Salem Baptist church. They will be discussing all things music and performance. This event is FREE to the public. 

February 2, 2023
Evita: La revolucionaria
Evita: the revolutionary

6 PM │Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center UNO Campus
Learn about the life of the influential Doña Perón and how her story is told by Ballet Hispánico. Hosted by and featuring Cristián Doña-Reveco and Claudia Garcia from the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies and members of Ballet Hispánico. Parking available in Lot D or E and go to building 8 (Dodge Campus).

March 18, 2023
Art Battle City Championships

6 PM | Culxr House (3014 N. 24th St.)
Regular season event winners and All-Stars from Nebraska and Minnesota return for their chance to become the 2023 Omaha City Champion and head to the US National Championships in Florida in April! Come watch as artists transform blank canvases into beautiful pieces of art in 3 rounds of just 20 minutes, and then help vote to determine the winner of the event! All artwork will also be available for silent auction.


April 19, 2023
Música - Una Exportación Cubana
Music: A Cuban Export

6:30 PM | Bancroft Street Market
Featuring Chucho Valdés with Ana & Andy Miereles from Nebraska All-Stars. This panel discussion will uncover the history and impact of Cuban music, featuring the music and musicians of the  Chucho Valdés Quartet, who will also perform at the Holland Center on April 20, 2023 at 7:30 PM.
May 4, 2023
Continued Conversation: Jete - Black Boy Joy
6:30 PM | Highlander Accelerator 

This in-person and livestreamed panel discussion will illuminate the positive black image created by some of the most significant Black male choreographers and dancers from and living in Omaha.

Philadanco also performed on Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 PM at the Orpheum Theater.

June 24, 2023
Global Sounds
Noon to 10 PM | Upland Park (3104 Jefferson St.) 

A day-long music and arts celebration of the global village of South Omaha cultures. Presented in partnership with Canopy South.

Voices AMPLIFIED 21/22 Season


Two figures under a street lampOmaha’s Forgotten Century
21/22 Voices AMPLIFIED! Finale Performance

Saturday, June 25, 2022 | 7:30 PM | Orpheum Theater
Experience the story of young Ernie and his Grandpa Apa as they converse, reminisce, and share memories about their Black and Latino heritage in Omaha through an original commissioned production created by Peggy Jones, Kathy Tyree, Broadway choreographer Ray Mercer and community creative consultants and featuring local actors and visual artists and New York and Omaha-based dancers. This event is free and open to the public. 



Omaha's Forgotten Century Creative Team

Meet the team
drop down
  • Creative Director and Choreographer Ray Mercer – Broadway actor, dancer and choreographer in his 17th year as a dancer and fight captain in Disney’s The Lion King 

  • Director Kathy Tyree – award-winning Omaha director and performer  

  • Creative consultant Jade Rogers – historian, educator at Metropolitan Community College and UNO and the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of The House of Afros, Capes, & Curls 

  • Scriptwriter Peggy Jones –  (M.F.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln) is an Associate Professor and past Interim Chairperson of the Black Studies Department, and a member of the Graduate and Women's and Gender Studies faculty, and the Nebraska Humanities Council Speakers Bureau.

  • Creative consultant Linda Garcia – local artist and co-founder of Mexican American Society of the Midlands 

  • Creative consultant Jose Garcia – local artist and co-founder of Mexican American Society of the Midlands 

  • Designer and visual artist Hugo Zamorano – Omaha artist helping to create the backdrop for the Voices AMPLIFIED! finale 

  • Producer and creative consultant Andy Cassano – O-pa Vice President of Programming and Education 

  • Creative consultant Aaron Gregory – O-pa Community Engagement Specialist, dancer and choreographer 



The Unsung Stories of Black Women

20 Feet From Stardom screening & interview with Lisa Fischer
May 24, 2022 7 PM
Film Streams' Ruth Sokolof Theater
1340 Mike Fahey St.

20 Feet From Stardom is a 2013 Best Documentary Oscar-winning film about the contributions and challenges of longtime backup singers like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton and Lisa Fischer, who will perform at the Holland Center on May 26, 2022. The film altered the course of Lisa's musical journey, telling her story, with clips of her legendary duets with Sting or with Mick Jagger on “Gimme Shelter” and left audiences eager to see and hear more.

Watch Interview


Las-Cafeteras---vamp-photoMarch 29 | 6:30 PM | Workshop: “A People’s History of Music in the United States”
Benson Theatre, 6054 Maple St. 
*Open to the public.

March 30 | 10:00 AM | Workshop: "Racism: Ain't Nobody Got Time for That!"
Creighton University 2500 California Plaza - Harper Center Ballroom
*Open to Creighton University students

Born and raised east of the Los Angeles River, Las Cafeteras is remixing roots music and telling modern day stories. Las Cafeteras create a vibrant musical fusion with Afro-Mexican beats, rhythms, and rhymes that deliver inspiring lyrics that document stories of a community seeking love and justice in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles.

The band will host a series of music workshops.

Las Cafeteras will perform at the Holland Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30 PM. 


Sankofa-vampThe Story of Afro-Colombians Through Dance with Sankofa Danzafro
March 2, 2022 | 5:30 PM | Dance workshop
The Venue at the Highlander 
2112 N. 30th St.

March 3, 2022 | 5:30 PM | Dance workshop
Bancroft Street Market 
2702 S. 10th St.

Sankofa Danzafro has sought to build a bridge between Afro-Colombian peoples and the African continent. The company uses Afro-Colombian’s ancestral roots in the creation of dance works. “Sankofa”, meaning, “to return to the root”, is an African philosophy that proposes that the past is a keyhole through which to view the present, and to be able to consider the future.

On March 2 and March 3, Sankofa Danzafro hosted dance workshops featuring salsa choque, an Afro-Colombian dance mixing salsa and hip hop. Learn more and watch video.


Dr. WynnAmplifying Black Women in the Sciences with Drs. Rae Wynn Grant and Sheritta Strong, MD
February 16, 2022 | 5:30 PM 
Charles B. Washington Branch, Omaha Public Library, 2868 Ames Ave
& virtual livestream

Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant has dedicated her life to ecological research and conservation. As a scientist with National Geographic Society’s Last Wild Places Initiative, she works to protect and restore iconic wildlife populations, including North American black and grizzly bears.

Moderated by Dr. Sherttia Strong, MD from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Drs. Grant and Strong will lead a discussion about advancing opportunities for Black women in the sciences.

Watch the livestream on O-pa's Facebook and YouTube channels. 

Marcey YatesRhymes and Reason: Hip Hop Panel Discussion in partnership with Culxr House 
January 21, 2022 | 7:00 PM
Culxr House
3014 N 24th St Omaha, NE

A panel discussion about hip hop and its impact in Omaha. The panel included music producer and the founder of Culxr House Marcey Yates, rapper Conny Franko and rapper Tylynn Music with DJ Kethro as the moderator.  

Watch the recorded livestream on O-pa's Facebook and YouTube channels.


Food-VAMPCelebrating The Food of Navidad and Kwanzaa  
December 15, 2021 | 6:00 PM
Virtual event
View the ingredients and recipes.

Learn about and sample foods from these holiday traditions with our partners No More Empty Pots. This was live-streamed on O-pa's Facebook and YouTube Channels, so you can cook along.

The cooking demonstration was led by No More Empty Pots staff, Dana Christensen, Meya Hill, and CEO/co-founder, Nancy Williams, University of Nebraska Omaha professor, Gabriel Gutierrez and moderator Jade Rogers, founder and chief innovation officer of The House of Afros, Capes & Curls.

    Get the ingredients, recipes and a note from the chefs here


    Watch on Facebook

    Watch on YouTube



    graffittiA Community Portrait   
    November 19, 2021 | 7:00 PM
    Virtual event 

    Local artist Hugo Zamorano taught students how to use graffiti art. The artwork reflects race and identity and will become part of a larger graffiti work at our Voices AMPLIFIED! June event: “Omaha’s Forgotten Century. This event was in partnership with El Museo Latino, and was live-streamed on O-pa's Facebook and YouTube Channels. 

    Watch on Facebook

    Watch on YouTube



    a younger latinx woman dancing in traditional mexican attire for mexican independence day celebrationCelebrating Mexican Independence Day 
    September 16, 2021 | 5:30 - 10:00 PM
    Holland Center Outdoors

    This event kicked off the 21/22 Voices AMPLIFIED Season with live music and dance, salsa lessons, food by O-pa Food Services, local restaurants and more!

    Performances by: Alexis Arai y su Grupo Latino, Jarabe Mexicano and Mariachi Omaha.



    Mic-VAMPStep Up to the Mic
    October 14, 2021 | 7:00 PM

    The Highlander Accelerator
    2112 N 30th St Omaha, NE

    A night of poetry at Step Up to the Mic, where spoken word and painting unite. Local poets Zedeka Poindexter, Paula Bell and Shukura Huggins performed original poems, while visual artist Hugo Zamorano completed an art piece

    Watch on Facebook

    Watch on YouTube

    Voices AMPLIFIED 20/21 Season

    fences the movie poster with denzel washington and viola davis

    Virtual Panel Discussion of August Wilson's Fences | How the Themes Still Matter Today

    Rediscover one of the greatest Black voices in theater: August Wilson. Wilson, an award-winning playwright and author, chronicled 20th century Black American life and won a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for his 1983 play Fences.

    Watch a recording of the panel discussion with Omaha thespians Raydell Cordell III, Kathy Tyree, Tyrone Beasley and John Beasley exploring the symbolism of the movie adaptation of Fences (which you can rent for as little as $4 here), generational differences and the father and son relationship within Black families.

    Watch on Facebook

    Watch on YouTube



    headshot of sydney shead (woman sitting outside laughing)

    Virtual Panel Discussion of Local Filmmakers Making Movies that Move

    We turned our attention to amplify local filmmakers using their art to influence social justice issues such as racial, economic and systemic barriers in Omaha. In partnership with Film Streams, artist  Sydney Shead shared her film series “The Unwavering Project."  Shead is an Omaha entrepreneur, family advocate and consultant.

    In her latest film project, she highlights the unwavering resilience and positive community impact from Black men. In the film, men share their childhood experiences from family trauma to violence and their triumphs as professionals, artists, business owners, and family men.

    You can watch the recorded panel discussion with Shead and two of the film participants Shannon Teamer and Kristopher Kuhn. Kuhn is a former NBA hopeful and the founder, owner, and director of Hoop Rank Early Education and Sports Academy.  Teamer is the senior director of Inclusion Programs & Services, director of TRIO Project Achieve at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and author of Start. Stay With It. Finish Strong.

    The panel discusses what it means to be unwavering, the importance of using film to tell their stories and the challenges and opportunities in the film industry.

    This panel discussion was streamed to O-pa's Facebook and YouTube channels.

    Watch on Facebook

    Watch on YouTube



    headshot of photographer rudy smithWorth a Thousand Words: The Photography of Rudy Smith

    After hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. speak at a convention in Denver, Rudy Smith was forever changed. The award-winning photographer Rudy Smith chronicled news events with his camera including Omaha’s race upheavals and the 1968 visit of Robert Kennedy who was campaigning in North Omaha two weeks before his assassination. Throughout Smith's photography career, he worked as both the objective observer and the committed activist. During a time of Civil Rights turmoil and reform in America, Smith photographed historical subjects such as protests, marches, and riots.

    Voices AMPLIFIED! hosted a live exhibit of his selected work, and invited panelists to talk about the importance of Smith’s work and how he made a national difference.

    The panelists include Llana Smith, the wife of Rudy Smith, Kristine Gerber, a local historian and publisher, and Janice Gilmore, a former columnist of the Omaha World Herald and former Omaha Public Schools principal. You can watch a recording of the panel discussion below.

    View on Facebook 

    View on YouTube



    woman prepping food items in a kitchen smilingDinner and Discussion on Food, Health and the Arts

    Food is rooted in Black culture and history. It’s also at the heart of health issues that challenge our community. Voices AMPLIFIED! partnered with No More Empty Pots (NMEP) for a casual Sunday dinner, where participants could register for a free meal kit and cook along with the live-streamed program to make a red rice bowl (download a copy of the recipe here). 

    NMEP is a grassroots non-profit organization that helps people and communities improve self-sufficiency and food security. During the cooking, the hosts discussed the history of food, cooking and preparing food as an art form and its impact on mental health. Jade Rogers, founder, and Chief Innovation Officer of The House of Afros, Capes & Curls moderated the discussion. Panelists included guests from No More Empty Pots: Nancy Williams, Co-founder/Chief Executive Officer, Mariah Henry, Production Manager and Meya Hill, Culinary Certificate Program Coordinator.

    You can watch a recording of the panel discussion below.

    Watch on Facebook

    Watch on YouTube

    no more empty pots logo



    ranky tankyThe Food and Music of the Gullah Culture

    Ranky Tanky is a Grammy-Award winning musical ensemble based in Charleston, South Carolina that specializes in jazz-influenced arrangements of traditional Gullah music, a culture that originated among descendants of enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry region. This event invited the Omaha community to engage with Ranky Tanky and learn about the Gullah Culture, music and history.

    Kathy Tyree, artist, director and founder of Kathy Tyree Productions moderated the event, which included a Gullah inspired menu:

    Cornmeal Battered Okra with Sweety Drop Peppers -Vegetarian
    Braised Shrimp with Geechee Boy Grits
    Low Country Crab Pie Puffs
    Gullah Fried Corn Cakes
    Red Rice Beignets with Low Country Remoulade
    Spiced Smoked Pork Shoulder on Benne Seed Rolls with Carolina BBQ Sauce



    Alicia OlatjujaLunch and Discussion with Alicia Olatuja 

    Voices AMPLFIED! and co-host Omaha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc invited the public to lunch and a live discussion with jazz singer Alicia Olatuja on her upcoming performance “Intuition: Songs From the Minds of Women.” Olatuja discussed the Black woman's voice in music as Black women reassert their rights, gain more political clout and speak out against harassment, abuse and exploitation in all walks of life. Gennean Scott, former VP of Human Capital and Inclusion at O-pa, moderated the event.

    omaha chapter of alpha kappa alpha, inc



    philadancoVirtual Discussion with PHILADANCO | The Black Voice in Dance

    The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) has a legacy of breaking barriers and building bridges across cultural divides. Founded in 1970 by Joan Myers Brown, PHILADANCO uses the language of dance to explore Black history, social justice and civil rights. Panelists for this event included Joan Myers Brown, artistic director Kim Bears-Bailey, company member Jameel Malik Hendricks and Omaha native and renowned choreographer Ray Mercer. They discussed the influence of dance in social justice and the arts, as well as fighting Black stereotypes in dance as an art form and as an artist. Omaha Dance educator Aaron Derell moderated this event. You can watch a recording below.

    Watch on Facebook

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    man speaking or singing passionately into a microphone on stage"Let America Be America Again"

    Titled after Langston Hughes' poem, the Voices AMPLIFIED! finale event featured local literary, musical, dance and visual arts talent focused around racial equity, social justice, and the arts, with an emphasis on both the Black Lives Matter movement and past reflections throughout history. Featured artists included actor Raydell Cordell III, singer Dani Cleveland, musician Justin Payne, poet Devel Crisp, poet Withlove Felicia, choreographer and dancer Aaron Derell, and an ensemble conducted by Ananias “Markey” Montague. Read more about these artists.

    Before the show, audience members could explore an exhibition of immersive art by students, faculty and alumni from the University of Nebraska Omaha's School of Communication, Fine Arts and Media in the ConAgra East Lobby at the Holland.

    Explore the program book below and watch a recording of the event.

    View the Let America Be America Again Program Book

    Watch on YouTube

    To learn more about inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility at O-pa, visit here