Kennesaw State Bailey School of Music to Celebrate Black History Month With Five Diverse Performances

"Moving Forward, Together" features a myriad of creative talent, including choral, jazz, orchestra, gospel, and even an interdisciplinary production.

By: Feb. 13, 2023
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Kennesaw State Bailey School of Music to Celebrate Black History Month With Five Diverse Performances

Kennesaw State University Bailey School of Music will celebrate Black History Month with a festival of five concerts, beginning Feb. 17 and running through Feb. 25. "Moving Forward, Together" features a myriad of creative talent, including choral, jazz, orchestra, gospel, and even an interdisciplinary production.

"The Blueprint: #BacktoBlack"

On Friday, Feb. 17, the Black Musicians Coalition will kick off the festival with an evening dedicated to Black history: "The Blueprint: #BacktoBlack." The student organization hopes to positively influence the experiences of Black students at the Bailey School of Music.

The Coalition's president, Sydnee Goode (senior, Choral Music Education), says that it's "important that Black musicians have a safe space to" Recent activities over the past year have included cookie decorating, a Friendsgiving dinner, and a couple of nights of Karaoke. Goode hopes that the KSU community will continue to recognize that Black musicians attending the university are magic. "We are the blueprint," she explains.

Award-winning Organization

KSU formally recognized them last year, as the Coalition won numerous awards, including Student Group of the Year, and the Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Award in the student group category. Goode has been surprised by the "impact that we have on each other and the KSU community. We created this interdisciplinary production to invite all Black creatives to create and share their brilliant ideas with the world."

Harrison Long, Interim Dean of the College of the Arts, says, "We are so proud of Sydnee and all the student leaders of the Black Musicians Coalition. 'The Blueprint' is a wonderful, collaborative celebration of Black History Month that engages students from across our College and KSU."

"Moving Forward, Together"

The idea behind "Moving Forward, Together" was born out of the Bailey School of Music. Composer/musician Tyrone Jackson, the faculty advisor for the Black Musicians Coalition and a music professor at KSU, explains that "we are all on this journey together. The things that happened in the past-for example, slavery-and the collision between the two cultures produced the music of the blues, which led to jazz and R&B, and then rock music. That's the music that came out of suffering, the music that we export to the globe."

Jackson explains why it's important for KSU "to value the music [the students] grew up with, are interested in, or are culturally invested in. So, when students can put forward their own music, it not only brings them joy, but also legitimatizes it; it reaffirms that their music has value." He notes that there is a symbiotic relationship between diverse audiences and programming.

F.T.M.O. Tyrone Jackson

On Monday, Feb. 20, the Faculty Jazz Parliament will play featured music from Jackson's numerous CDs. He says, "This is an opportunity to invite folks to our campus for a great concert." Some selections include pieces written with African movements; he's excited that "our jazz faculty is so large, that we have every instrument we need: vocals, horns-including two saxophones, a jazz trumpet, and a jazz trombone-plus guitar, bass, and, of course, drums."

He has released four CD's, including his latest one, "F.T.M.O Tyrone Jackson," (From The Mind Of...) which he describes as a "wonderful collaboration with a lot of different people." The CD is available on numerous music platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.

Highlighting Black Excellence
Next up for the Black History Month Festival is "Lift Every Voice" on Tues., Feb. 21, featuring the Chamber Singers, Chorale, Treble Choir, and Men's Ensemble. This concert will feature a myriad of soloists as well as collaborative songs. On Friday, Feb. 24, Sam Skelton, director, will lead Jazz Ensemble I, featuring Arlington Jones, piano, Jorge Ginorio, drums, and Jesús Castro-Balbi, cello.

New Collaborations

The week will end with a moving concert by the KSU Symphony Orchestra, led by Dr. Nathaniel F. Parker, and the KSU Gospel Choir, led by Dr. Oral Moses. This is the first time that the Symphony Orchestra and Gospel Choir have shared the stage. The KSU Gospel Choir will perform with the KSU Symphony Orchestra on Sat., Feb. 25.

Parker says, "I'm very excited about this performance, programmed in collaboration with my amazing colleague, Oral Moses. All pieces on the program were written by Black composers, but the repertoire reflects several different eras, ranging from Florence Price-the matriarch of Black American composers-to the world premiere of a new work written by KSU alumnus, Nicholas Felder. It also showcases a spectrum of Black and Black-influenced musical styles: the spiritual, gospel music, contemporary art music, and, in Daniel Bernard Roumain's work, hip-hop and spoken word. I can't wait to share this diverse and thought-provoking program with our audience."

Tickets Now on Sale

Tickets for "The Blueprint: #BackToBlack" are $5 for students and $8 for adults and are available online. Tickets and reservations for all other concerts are available at or by calling 470-578-6650.


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