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African-American music heritage in Athens: an evening of presentations

In celebration of the upcoming launch of the downtown Athens Music Walk of Fame, the Lyndon House Arts Center and the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission this month are sponsering a night of musical education in which speakers will leads discussions about the history and the rich contributions of black music and musicians in the Athens area.

Art Rosenbaum will be sharing his knowledge of folk musicians such as Joe Rakestraw who served in the war and returned to a segregated South.  Rosenbaum is an artist, as well as a collector and performer of traditional American folk music. He has written a number of books including "Shout Because You're Free: The African American Ring Shout Tradition on the Coast of Georgia" (1998), published by the University of Georgia Press.  He was awarded a Grammy in 2008 for Best Historical Album for his music collection Art of Field Recording Volume I: Fifty Years of Traditional American Music Documented by Art Rosenbaum. A performer on a variety of folk instruments, he has written and illustrated two instruction books on traditional banjo styles; and his own playing and singing can be heard on several solo and group CDs. 

Gregory Hull, has been the Pre-K coordinator for the Clarke County School District for 15 years. He is a graduate of Clarke Central High School, attended Fort Valley University, and is a graduate of the UGA in early childhood education. Hull is the director of worship and the arts at Hill Chapel Baptist Church and founder/organizer of the Voices of Hill Chapel. He is the recipient of the Kathryn H. Hug International Leadership Award, Foundation for Excellence in Public Education in the Clarke County School District.

Mary Helen Hoque is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at the UGA. Her research interests broadly explore identity and agency in American music, including previous work as diverse as compositional practices in late 19th-century American operetta and gender in country music. Her dissertation research explores how identity and citizenship are expressed through musical activity in the American South during Reconstruction. She will be presenting her research on the life and music of George Davis, the Athens native and Reconstruction-era African American barber and bugler.

The event is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 9 at the Lyndon House Arts Center, 211 Hoyt St., Athens. The speakers will be followed by questions, conversation and refreshments.

For more information, call (706) 613-3623. Follow at or on Facebook and Instagram.

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