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They’ll be dancing in the streets. And you’ll join them.

Local jazz vocalists Claudette Morgan and TC the 3rd will lead a New Orleans-style “second line” parade through Kew Gardens on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 12:30 p.m.

For about an hour, they will belt out call-and-response standards by legends such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughn while a five-piece brass ensemble — Patience Higgins on sax, Stafford Hunter on trombone, Duane Eubanks on trumpet, Chauncey Yearwood on bass drum, and Kevin Raczka on snare — accompanies them.

It’s free, and all (walkers, musicians, singers, dancers, viewers, etc.) are invited.

Organizers encourage the general public to join in the fun and form what is known as a “second line” behind the main characters. Some historians think “second lining” descends from West African circles where children danced behind adults. The tradition merged with Mardi Gras and U.S. military brass band parades in New Orleans, Louisiana, over time. (Currently, second lines are part of other African-American rituals, such as weddings and funerals.)

Participants should meet at Maple Grove Park, which is located on Hoover Avenue between Queens Boulevard and 132nd Street, at around noon. Marchers will then meander westward up the north side of Queens Boulevard, past the Queens County Criminal Court to Queens Borough Hall for some more songs and a possible meeting with Borough President Melinda Katz.

Morgan, who lives in St. Albans, is a professional singer who produces a jazz series with the Black Spectrum Theatre. TC is a well-established bee bop musician with a soothing, melodic baritone who used to have a Sunday night gig at St. Nick’s Pub in Harlem.

The event organizer is Roz Nixon, a playwright who grew up in Cambria Heights. She is partnering with the nonprofit Make Music New York, which organizes outdoor community events every June 21 and Dec. 21 (the summer and winter solstices). In fact, the Kew Gardens parade is part of a daylong MMNY celebration at 12 sites on Dec. 21.

“We’re hoping people from the neighborhood will join right in. We’re a friendly group,” Nixon told QNS. “This is a holiday parade, although we’re not celebrating any particular one…What better way to get the whole ‘spirit of the holidays’ started?”

To participate, send an email with the subject line “I Want to Swing” to

Nixon promised that those present will hear music they love, including songs from her new musical “SS Nirvana: A Story of Love and Jazz On the High Seas.” She also guaranteed the chance to meet new friends and her beloved Aunt Mabel Everett, who lives in South Ozone Park.

Images: Make Music New York


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