By Camm Ashford
Chattanooga’s own Willie Kitchens, the former lead vocalist of The Impressions, will on April 30 headline a musical tribute at the Tennessee Aquarium’s 30th Anniversary Community Celebration.
Kitchens is a member of the Chronicle Media Group’s Entertainment team.
Kitchens’ show at 6 p.m. is a highlight of a packed slate of musical performances, which will kick off at 11 a.m. at the Aquarium’s free all-day riverfront celebration.
Other musicians slated to perform include: Jasmine LaShea; soul artist and The Voice winner Chris Blue of Knoxville; Nashville-based pop singer Jonny Lucas; Robin Baker; Tiffany Coleman; Sydney and Brayden Guerrette; Sera Hill and Stephy J Moore.
With its opening on May 1, 1992, the Aquarium was the epicenter of a civic turnaround that transformed Chattanooga from a struggling, polluted manufacturing town into a bustling, tech-friendly hub of Southeastern tourism and outdoor recreation.
On April 30, the day before its official 30th anniversary, the Aquarium’s celebration will honor the importance of public partnerships to its creation and continuing success.
The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the Aquarium plaza and on the Chattanooga Green across Chestnut Street from the River Journey building.
“The Aquarium would not exist today without the vision and support of our community,” said Aquarium President and CEO Keith Sanford. “Thanks to this city’s belief in itself and willingness to dream big, the Aquarium has attracted millions of people to Chattanooga who can now appreciate how special our home really is.”
In partnership with the Walk Run Pedal Jamz Festival, the celebration will commence at 8 a.m. with a 30-minute walk, followed by a 30-minute run and then a 30-kilometer bike ride along the riverfront.
At 10 a.m., the Chattanooga River Market will open. In addition to perusing stalls stocked with locally produced products and treats, attendees can participate in family activities and snack on offerings from various food trucks.
The evening will conclude with a fireworks display at 9 p.m.
In December 1999, Willie Kitchens joined Samuel Gooden, Fred Cash and Vandy Hampton in the Impressions, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rhythm and blues group that launched Curtis Mayfield’s career.
Kitchens left the Impressions in 2002, and went on to work for Chattanooga’s Bethlehem Center, where he served as the executive director of the Bethlehem Center Mass Choir and minister of music to the Bethlehem-Wiley United Methodist Church.
For more details on the Tennessee Aquarium’s 30th anniversary Celebration, visit https://tnaqua.org/events/30th-anniversary-community-celebration/