'America's Music' meant to showcase nation's range

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 | 7:55 p.m. CDT; updated 2:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 3, 2013

*CORRECTION: "Martin Scorcese Presents the Blues and "Say Amen, Somebody" will be screened from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway. An earlier version of this article gave the wrong time.

COLUMBIA — A series that showcases American music through films, performances and lectures is underway in Columbia.

America's Music schedule of events

Classes meet at the Stephens Lake Activity Center, 2311 E. Walnut St. Classes cost $15 for the entire series; register by printing the enrollment form on Osher's website,
  • Oct. 8, 1 to 3 p.m. — Aaron Copland, by Judith Mabary
  • Oct. 15, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Ella Fitzgerald, by Michael Budds
  • Oct. 22, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Richard Rodgers, by Michael Budds
  • Oct. 29, 1 to 3 p.m. — Summary and panel discussions, by Michael Budds, Judith Mabary, Stephanie Shonekan and Maya Gibson
Screenings will be held at the Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway, in the Friends Room. Free.
  • *Oct. 7, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — The Blues and Gospel Music, featuring "Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues" and "Say Amen, Somebody"
  • Oct. 14, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — Swing Jazz, featuring Ken Burns' "Jazz" and "International Sweethearts of Rhythm"
  • Oct. 21, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — Country and Bluegrass, featuring "High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music"
  • Oct. 28, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — Rock, featuring "The History of Rock and Roll"
  • Nov. 11, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — Broadway and Tin Pan Alley, featuring "Broadway: The American Musical"
  • Nov. 18, 6:30 to 8 p.m. — Latin Rhythms From Mambo to Hip Hop, featuring "Latin Music USA" and "From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale"

Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building, MU. Tickets $5 suggested donation.
  • Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m. — The Next Step gospel music
Dorsey Hall, 1007 Rogers St., Columbia College. Tickets $10.
  • Oct. 25, 7 p.m. — John White and the Nine Mile Band
The Blue Note, 17 N. Ninth St.
  • Oct. 23, 7 p.m. — MU Jazz Band, directed by Arthur White. Tickets $8 advance, $10 at the door.
  • Nov. 6, 7 p.m. — Battle of the Bands. Tickets $7 in advance and at the door.
  • Nov. 17, 7 p.m. — The Great American Songbook. Tickets $8 advance, $10 at the door.
  • Nov. 20, 7 p.m. — Hip Hop 101. No ticket price set yet. Tickets are available through The Blue Note website,
Visit for more information.

"We are in the midst of an American music extravaganza," said Judith Mabary, an MU associate professor of musicology and a coordinator of  "America's Music."

The series, which is sponsored by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will run through Nov. 20 and cover six music genres.

Events include a hip-hop freestyle battle, square dancing lessons as part of a traditional music night at The Blue Note and lectures on the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Aaron Copland.

A $15 fee covers admission to every lecture in the series. Tickets for performances range from $5 to $10. Film screenings are free.

"Our main goal is to introduce the community to American music and all its different facets," said Stephanie Shonekan, an assistant professor of ethnomusicology at MU.

Joining in the music

The festival's events are broken into six sets, one per genre. Each set will feature a film, lecture and performance.

The lecture series began Sept. 10 at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, an MU Extension program offering noncredit courses for people "50 and better," and will continue through Oct. 29. 

"This is probably the richest and most elaborate of musical offerings that we've been a part of," said Lucille Salerno, director of the Osher Institute.

Michael Budds, a professor of musicology, Maya Gibson, an assistant professor musicology, Mabary and Shonekan will present lectures about great figures in American music, including Charles Ives and Duke Ellington.

Films will screen on Monday evenings from Oct. 7 to Nov. 18 at the Columbia Public Library.

Performances begin Oct. 12 at MU's Whitmore Recital Hall and also will be held at Columbia College and The Blue Note.

From paper to stage 

After wading through grant request paperwork, Mabary and Budds received funding in March from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the series. 

"In the sciences, grant writing is part of the business," Mabary said. "It's not as common in the arts."

The "America's Music" series was created by the Tribeca Film Institute, with the support of the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities, in an effort to increase the visibility of local libraries.

"You do things in service of the community, and this is part of that service," Mabary said.

The grant allows only performers to be paid, and ticket prices cover just the cost of the facilities and the performers for the event. Lecturers volunteer their time and knowledge to support the festival.

"It's what we're passionate about," Shonekan said. "We're all professors who lovingly develop and teach these courses on campus to our students, so when the opportunity comes to take that love to a much wider audience, we jump at it."

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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