James Forger: Spring 2014 v2 E-News Introduction

We are pleased to share some of our recent achievements, new initiatives, and learning experiences that were made possible this year by a stellar faculty and talented student body. 

James Forger
Dean, MSU College of Music

Music is an important element in studying, understanding, and celebrating cultural diversity. Highlighted in this issue, are a number of such artistic and scholarly events already held and yet to unfold in the next few months.

The first “Music in the Neighborhoods” initiative, supported by the campus community and led by Associate Dean Rhonda Buckley, explores ‘harmonies in culture.’ As Buckley comments, “‘Music in the Neighborhoods’ is designed to encourage students to step out of their comfort zones and to build unity and diversity in new ways.” This event promises to light up campus centers for MSU students in the River Trail, North, South, and East neighborhoods through music, sights, sounds, and foods that feature Salsa, Italian opera, traditional Chinese music, and Jewish folk music.

Among other feature stories in this edition that highlight cultural diversity are pieces on Professor Mark Sullivan’s project: “Building Awareness of Cuban Culture through Concerts and Photography;” Haobing Zhu’s doctoral project “Chasing the Moon: Bridging the Cultural Gap between China and America;” and the recent teaching and scholarly work by Ph.D. music education candidate Adam Kruse, recent recipient of the MSU Excellence in Diversity Award.

The College of Music is pleased to continue participation in the university-wide “Project 60/50”: the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Topeka decision and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Partnering with the James Madison College and the LeFrak Forum and Symposium on Science, Reason, & Modern Democracy in the Department of Political Science, guest speakers Emmett Price and Portia Maultsby will address “Spirituality and Social Justice in Black Music: The Case of John Coltrane” and “Freedom Now” and  “Black Power”: Their Ideological Manifestations in Soul and Funk Music. These two talks will be offered in conjunction with musical presentations by MSU Jazz Studies.

We look forward to celebrating musical diversity in festivals after Spring Break, which will include Cello Plus, Latin IS America, and Jazz Spectacular.

We were delighted that three music faculty members were recognized for their exceptional creative, scholarly, and teaching accomplishments: Cynthia Taggart, recipient of the William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award; Michael Callahan, recipient of the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award; and Jack Budrow, recipient of the Michigan Chapter of the American String Teachers Association Teacher of the Year Award.

As always, we continue to be grateful to individuals who help make a difference—including Ed and Wanda Eichler, Tom and Cathy Luccock, and Irene and Sumner Bagby whose stories are highlighted in “Giving Moves Music.” Additionally, we would like to express our gratitude to all the donors who made it possible for the 65-member MSU Wind Symphony ensemble to take the stage at Carnegie Hall. To all who provide support and invest in our exceptional community of students and faculty, we extend our thanks. We can’t do it without you!

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