Gala sings praise of Purple Lady

Published 10:01 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Members of the Church of God and Saints of Christ at Temple Beth El in North Suffolk are inviting the community to an afternoon of music, food and fellowship while they honor one of their own alongside other black men and women of distinction.

The El Cel Sorors group of Temple Beth El will hold its seventh annual gala this Sunday. This year’s gala will delve into black history in the performing arts in honor of Black History Month.

Musicians will perform classics from the likes of Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Smokey Robinson and others from the different genres of the African experience, according to member Delzorra Presha.


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“They’re expressing our history in song and dance,” Presha said.

“The Purple Lady,” Rachel Presha, seated, is seen in this file photo with her daughter, Delzorra Presha. The elder Presha died last May, and she will be remembered in an event later this month. (Submitted Photo)

The event will also honor Presha’s late mother, Rachel Presha, who was known by many as the Purple Lady.

Presha was a local character that fell in love with the color purple. She would dress head-to-toe in her trademark color and even paint telephone poles and tree trunks in front of her residence. Everything in her yard, from her fence to her wheelbarrow, was purple.

She was an astute Bible student who lived in what was once called “Farm No. 6” in the Belleville area near the current entrance to Harbour View. She died on May 5, 2017.

“She was a simple person who gave a lot of love to people, and a lot of people loved her, too,” Presha said about her mother. “The person who funeralized her is going to tell the people about the Purple Lady and her journey through life.”

The gala will be from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Temple Beth El social hall at 3927 Bridge Road. Tickets are $25 and will include the buffet along with a souvenir booklet and a commemorative calendar.

Call Mary Hill at 685-1730, Delzorra Presha at 483-9801 or email for more tickets and more information.