By Phil Dzikiy
When Amilcar Hill married Rahwa Ghirmatzion at their son Asa’s funeral in September, there was an outpouring of love. There was singing and dancing and celebration. It made Hill want to create that same kind of feeling again, free from the trappings of tragedy.
“After the celebration for Asa, a lot of people were moved,” Hill said. “People came up to testify. We felt it needed to be nurtured, this kind of feeling. It seems our community is strengthened by it. We began to think long and hard on what kind of vehicle we can create.”
That vehicle is the Pro-Love Tour, which makes its Friday night debut at the Riviera Theatre. The event will feature more than 15 acts, including musicians, dancers, poets and choirs.
Finding the Pro-Love performers wasn’t much of a challenge for Hill. As word got out that he was putting an event together, his community — “a community of artists” — wanted in.
“Everybody was like, really down, and we could see how this would give us an opportunity to promote unconditional love and peace,” he said.
Though the show is being billed as the Pro-Love “Tour,” Friday’s event is the only scheduled show as of yet. But Hill hopes that will change.
“This is hopefully going to be the first of many (shows),” he said. “We wanted it to be a tour, so we named it a tour.”
Hill has the idea of bringing the Pro-Love Tour to many cities. He believes that a tour could be built around a few artists from Buffalo. Those artists could bring the tour to other cities, where they would meet up with other local performers and artists who were interested in participating. Hill’s even considering the possibility of bringing national acts into the fold at some point, if the Pro-Love Tour really takes off.
If nothing else, the tour will likely make multiple stops in the area eventually, Hill said. Performers who weren’t able to get in on the act this time around don’t want to feel left out the next time.
“That’s how I know the tour will happen,” Hill said. “The interest is there.”
But for now, Friday night’s show is a starting point. It’s also a chance, Hill said, to see what works and what doesn’t, in terms of show planning.
Hill estimates the show will run for about an hour and a half, and most acts will be taking turns on stage, but there will be a few collaborations at the show.
The message of love will be the common theme, of course. And that all comes back to Asa, who died at 7 from injuries suffered in a car crash, and whose father is still “really missing him everyday.”
“As a result of that ... there’s been an awakening of a lot of people,” Hill said. “It’s a testament to his legacy and a testament to his love, and the love that his community has for him.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The Pro-Love Tour
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda
MORE INFORMATION: Call 692-2413 or visit www.rivieratheatre.org; tickets $20