“America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway,” a free six-part program that focuses on uniquely American musical traditions, kicks off 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in Stambaugh Auditorium on Fifth Avenue in Youngstown.
Youngstown is among only 50 sites nationwide to host the program series presented by the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music. The local program is hosted by Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music, the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, and Stambaugh Auditorium.
“It’s wonderful to see the program bring the community together and to see the YSU music and dance faculty, students and alumni share their talents to supplement the topics of the series,” said program scholar Ewelina Boczkowska, assistant professor in the YSU Dana School of Music. “The program truly is a celebration of American music culture.”
The series features musical performances and award-winning documentary film screenings followed by scholar-led discussions by Boczkowska of 20th century American popular music. The six sessions focus on blues and gospel, Broadway, jazz, mambo and hip hop, bluegrass and country, and rock ’n’ roll.
Patrons will have the opportunity to be seated directly on the Stambaugh Auditorium stage for each program. Popcorn and other refreshments will be sold. “It’s rare when we have a program that allows patrons direct access onto Stambaugh’s stage,” said Matt Pagac, general manager of Stambaugh Auditorium. “Most people never have the chance to enjoy being on-stage.”
Each program is at Stambaugh Auditorium, and all are free and open to the public. The schedule:
Wednesday, Sept. 25, Blues and Gospel. Performance by Alton Merrell, assistant professor in the YSU Dana School of Music, and lecture by Ewelina Boczkowska. Film screenings and discussion: Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: Episode 1, Feel Like Going Home and Say Amen, Somebody.
Wednesday, Oct. 23, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway. Performance by Nancy Wolfgang’s Studio and lecture by Ewelina Boczkowska. Film screening and discussion: Broadway: The American Musical, Episode 2: Syncopated City (1919-1933).
Wednesday, Nov. 20, Country and Bluegrass. Lecture by Ewelina Boczkowska. Film screening and discussion: High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music.
Wednesday, Feb. 19, Rock and Roll. Lecture by Ted Perkins and Ewelina Boczkowska. Film screening and discussion: The History of Rock ’n’ Roll: Episode 6, Plugging In.
Wednesday, March 19, Latin Rhythms From Mambo to Hip Hop. Performance by Lee Beitzel and YSU Dance Studio and Lecture by Ewelina Boczkowska. Film screenings and discussion: Latin Music USA, Episode 1, Bridges and From Mambo to Hip-Hop: A South Bronx Tale.
Wednesday, April 16, Swing Jazz. Performance by YSU Jazz Ensembles and lecture by Ewelina Boczkowska. Film screenings and discussion: Ken Burns’ Jazz: Episode 6, Swing, The Velocity of Celebration and International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
The series has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.
For more information, contact the YSU Dana School of Music at 330-941-3636, the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County at 330-744-8636 or Stambaugh Auditorium at 330-747-5175.