Message from the Dean

Human trafficking is among the largest criminal enterprises in the world. Trafficking in both its forms—labor and sexual—is an enormous problem in the U.S. and Michigan.

James Forger, dean, MSU College of Music

What does this have to do with the MSU College of Music?

Recently, the College joined concerned faculty, departments, and colleges from across MSU in the work of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force—a multi-agency consortium administered by Jane White through MSU's School of Criminal Justice. The College will add the transformational voice of music to the task force, beginning with a series of performances followed by a program that brings performances and educational programming to public schools around the state. 

Addressing and reflecting social issues through music is part of the tradition of classical, jazz, and popular music. The College continues that proud tradition by commissioning Grammy Award-winning composer and jazz artist Billy Childs to write a work for two vocalists, jazz orchestra, and string quartet. Spearheaded by Professors Mark Sullivan and Rodney Whitaker, this particular project will be what we anticipate to be the first commissioned work for the human trafficking task force. Drs. Lou A. and Roy J. Simon have generously provided the funding for Billy Childs' work. We anticipate our next project to be a 45-minute children’s opera for which we are currently seeking sponsors.

The curricular materials for use in public schools will provide opportunities for MSU student ensembles to premiere works of world-renowned composers, to tour with these works, and to hone their skills with repeated performances is a vital part of their education. This work is central to our service and to providing a world-class education at the nation’s pioneer land grant college: Michigan State University.

James Forger
Dean, Michigan State University College of Music

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