Event will feature freedom songs from the Underground Railroad


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. —  Songs of Freedom: Music from Ordinary People with Extraordinary Courage—the Men and Women of the Underground Railroad” will be the theme of the 2011 African American Music Heritage Institute Feb. 7 and 8.

    Sponsored by the UofL School of Music, in conjunction with the Carnegie Center for Art & History in New Albany, Ind., the 15th annual event honors the musical history of African Americans through concerts, clinics, lectures and workshops. The program is based on the permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Center that focuses on the lives of those who helped fugitive slaves find hope and freedom through the Underground Railroad.

    A public performance at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Margaret Comstock Concert Hall, UofL School of Music, will feature spiritual music by a local choir, Messengers for Christ, and a talk by Blaine Hudson, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and noted expert on the Underground Railroad.

    The choir will perform music that conveys the struggle to escape slavery, often referred to as freedom songs, in a multimedia program. The choir is directed by Ronn Norfleet.Suggested donation for the Feb. 7 concert is $5; UofL students and children under 10 are free. Tickets may be reserved by calling 502-852-6907.

    As part of the institute, some local elementary and secondary schools will participate in music workshops at UofL both days. UofL Pan-African studies professor Alicestyne Turley will conduct a professional curriculum workshop for teachers Feb. 7 and speak to the students Feb. 8.

    According to institute founder and director Jerry Tolson, associate professor of music education at UofL, the institute helps foster a better understanding among a culturally diverse community and student population.

    Institute sponsors include the School of Music, Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality, College of Arts & Sciences, the Music Student Association and community groups.For more information, call Tolson at 502-852-6972 or email jerry.tolson@louisville.edu.