Fort Smith Museum of History
320 Rogers Ave, Fort Smith, AR

April 29, 2016 at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm
April 30, 2016 at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm

In conjunction with the exhibition, Roots, Rhythm and Rock-Music That Moved Fort Smith: 1880-1945, during the Steel Horse Motorcycle Rally, the museum will present a showing of a new locally produced documentary on Alphonso Trent, Fort Smith native and well-known jazz musician.  Alphonso's Gold may be viewed on April 29 at 11:00 am, 1:00 and 3:00 pm and on April 30 at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm.

Produced by Dr. Henry Rinne, John McIntosh, Five Star Productions and featuring Ryk St. Vincent and Chris Cameron, the documentary is based on a screen play by Rinne who has completed extensive research on Trent.   

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.   

Jimmie Lunceford, in an article in the 1947 Esquire Jazz Book states, "I'd say that Trent's band gave inspiration to more young musicians than any other." 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.  

Although not well-known nationally, Alphonso Trent was a gifted musician, natural leader and contributed significantly to the training of numerous young African-American jazz musicians of the era.   

Join the Fort Smith Museum of History to learn about this fascinating native son.  Free with museum admission:  $7 adults, $2 children, under age 6 are free. 

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.