Thursday, June 21, 2018 National Alliance Pushes For Diversity In American Orchestras

The National Alliance for Audition Support brought together classical string musicians for a workshop in Miami Beach.
Siggi Bachmann / New World Symphony [WLRN]

Samuel Thompson writes:

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I trust that the summer is going smoothly now that festival season is in full swing.

The last few months have been quite full and exciting, and I am pleased to share this interview which took place during the National Alliance for Audition Support Audition Intensive.   Held at the New World Center in Miami Beach, the National Alliance for Audition Support is a partnership involving the New World Symphony, League of American Orchestras, and Sphinx Organization.

More information on the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS) can be found here:

"The National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS) is an unprecedented national initiative to increase diversity in American orchestras. It will do so by offering Black and Latinx musicians a customized combination of mentoring, audition preparation, financial support, and audition previews. The NAAS is made up of The Sphinx Organization, the lead program and fiscal administrator for the Alliance; the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy; and the League of American Orchestras, representing 700 orchestras. A group of Black and Latinx professional musicians will be thought leaders, guides, and advisors for the Alliance. The NAAS is supported by a four-year grant of $1.8M from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as well as contributions from orchestras across the U.S."

WLRN-Miami Public Radio Interview:

John Malveaux: First African American President of Cornish College of Arts

Raymond Tymas-Jones

John Malveaux of 

Dr Kehembe V Eichelberger at Howard University  shared the following:

Greetings Colleagues
After a long history of administrative appointments, I'm proud to announce that  our Music Alum, Dr. Raymond Tymas-Jones has taken a college presidency.  His appointment will commence July 1.  We continue to make history.
Kehembe V Eichelberger,
Dept. of Music

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

The First African American President of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle

May 7, 2018

The board of trustees of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle has chosen Raymond Tymas-Jones as its next president. When, he takes office on July 1, Dr. Tymas-Jones will be the first African American to lead the college.

Cornish College of the Arts offers bachelor of fine arts degrees in art dance, design, film, theater, and other disciplines as well as a bachelor’s degree in music. African Americans make up 3 percent of the 674-member student body, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education.

In accepting the position, Dr. Tymas-Jones said “my goal is to ensure that Cornish’s faculty, staff, and students thrive and excel as artists, innovators, and creatives for the express purpose of impacting the artistic and cultural communities of Seattle and beyond.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 Music by Composers of African Descent with violinist Samuel Nebyu

Music By Composers of African Descent
Samuel Nebyu, Violin
© Copyright - Bcm&d Records / Bcm&d Records (888295594394)
[Available at]

Classical Album of the Week: Music by Composers of African Descent with violinist Samuel Nebyu

Jun 19, 2018 

What a fascinating collection!  Young violinist Samuel Nebyu, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music & Dance, has come out with a debut album that bears repeated listening. Samuel Nebyu, violin – Music by Composers of African Descent is a treasury of compositions, and a celebration of his Ethiopian-Hungarian heritage.

The disc features violin and piano selections by composers of color: Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Henry Thacker Burleigh, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Clarence Cameron White. While these names may not be immediately familiar, they all played a role in the development of music during the 18th and 19th centuries. 

New York Times: Frances Walker-Slocum, 94, Pioneering Pianist and Teacher, Dies

Frances Walker-Slocum

Frances Walker-Slocum, who overcame childhood burns that left her arm impaired to become a pioneering classical pianist and the first black female tenured professor at Oberlin College and Conservatory, died on June 9 in Oberlin, Ohio. She was 94.

Her death was announced by Oberlin, where she had taught from 1976 until she retired in 1991 and was named a professor emerita.

“Miss Walker’s playing has sweep and impetuosity,” John Briggs wrote in The New York Times in a review of her debut concert at Carnegie Recital Hall in Manhattan in 1959, which included works by Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Chopin. She was known professionally as Frances Walker at the time.

“She proved well able to do justice to the big virtuoso pieces on her program,” Mr. Briggs added. “It was an impressive first appearance by a young pianist of considerable talent.”

Her performance at a bicentennial concert at Oberlin in 1976 was so impressive that she was immediately hired to teach there. She became an outspoken champion of black composers, including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Scott Joplin and William Grant Still, and waged a continuing campaign for gender pay equality among the faculty.

Peter Takacs, a music professor at Oberlin, said in a statement that Professor Walker-Slocum’s “deep, noble, unhurried” interpretations of all music, but especially Brahms and Liszt, imbued the works she played with even deeper profundity.

The younger sister of George Walker, who in 1996 became the first black classical composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for music, Professor Walker-Slocum was not only an accomplished pianist but also a popular teacher, at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, the Third Street Settlement School in Manhattan, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Rutgers University in New Jersey and Oberlin, where she rose to chairwoman of the piano department.

“Ms. Walker was a tough teacher, but one who knew how to tap into every student’s motivation,” said Lee Koonce, a senior adviser to the dean of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and a former student.

Frances Walker was born on March 6, 1924, in Washington, the granddaughter of a slave and the daughter of Dr. George Walker, an immigrant from Jamaica, and Rosa (King) Walker, who worked for the Government Printing Office. Dr. Walker had studied at Temple University; when the couple moved to Washington, their first major purchase was a piano.

When Frances was 5, about the time she grudgingly began piano lessons, her dress caught fire as she was playing with matches.

She was taken to the emergency room of Freedmen’s Hospital, Washington’s only hospital for blacks at the time. She was in a coma, and her right arm was severely burned. Hospitalized for a year, Frances underwent several operations, but her right arm remained shorter and weaker than her left, its movement impaired. That meant that later on she struggled to perform more challenging works, she said.

“I felt sorry for myself and at the same time guilty for all the trouble I had caused,” Professor Walker-Slocum wrote in her memoir, “A Miraculous Journey” (2006). “I was constantly in fear of dying.”

But while attending Dunbar High School, she began private piano lessons and also studied piano at the junior division of Howard University’s music department.

“The arts build moral strength and all kinds of inner strength,” she said.

She enrolled in Oberlin, which she described as “a vanguard in those days” as the only institution where a black woman could earn an undergraduate degree in music. She graduated in 1945.

She met Henry Chester Slocum Jr., a white Oberlin alumnus, in Mississippi. They got married in New York City because interracial marriage was banned in Mississippi. But even living in Astoria, Queens, she said, they were subjected to bigotry.

Mr. Slocum died in 1980. Professor Walker-Slocum is survived by their son, Jeffrey Slocum; her brother; a granddaughter; and two great-granddaughters.

She received a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a professional diploma for completing the credits for a doctorate but not her dissertation.

Her career soared after she expanded her classical repertoire in 1975 with a performance at Carnegie Recital Hall, “Bicentennial Program: The Music of Black American Composers.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sinfo-Nia Youth Orchestra's 2018 Summer Camp Concert

David E. Robinson III writes:

Greetings Family, Friends, and Colleagues,

I hope that you and your family are enjoying your summer so far including getting some rest.  The Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia is having an awesome camp this year.  We have so many talented students especially new ones that have joined us.  Summer is not a time to take off from learning and playing beautiful music.  In fact, it is a time to get some intensive training to become more proficient musicians.  A student can move from one level to another or move up in his/her section.  These skills can also carry over into one's school orchestra program; that includes leadership training.  

Sinfo-Nia's Summer Academy Concert will take place this Thursday, June 21, 2018, 6:30 PM at the First Congregational Church Commons located at 125 Ellis St., Atlanta, GA 30303.  Tickets are $15.00 for an adult and $10.00 for a child.  Please come listen to the classic soulful summer sounds of Sinfo-Nia.

As you might have heard, Sinfo-Nia will not be taking another trip to Jamaica this summer after camp.  First, we did not have enough students wanting to go.  Second, we didn't raise enough funds.  We will look into other international trips in the future.  Sinfo-Nia is one of a few that travel to the Diaspora.  We are looking at Jamaica again, some of the other Caribbean nations, and the Motherland Africa again in about ten years.

Looking ahead to our 2018-19 School-Year, it will begin with our Open House on Saturday, September 8, 2018, 9 AM to 12 Noon also at the First Congregational Church Commons.  An orchestra student may come with his/her instrument (violin, viola, cello, or double bass) and sit in with the Orchestra before deciding whether or not to enroll him/her for the school-year.  We accept band students on the advanced level only.  Sinfo-Nia continues to offer quality instruction in an exciting, motivational, nurturing environment.  Last school-year Sinfo-Nia performed for a number of occasions throughout our communities, for various occasions, and in the presence of a number of celebrities.  We have the support of longtime radio personality, "Casual Cal."  Some of you may remember him on WAOK and WIGO years ago.  He was also the announcer of the world's famous Universoul Circus.  He is about to launch a series of talent shows where contestants could possibly win prizes.  There will be certain dates when string players can take part as contestants.  He will have a  process (a preliminary) for official registration.  There is even talk in turning it into a tour show.   

Our classes/rehearsals during the school-year take place Monday evenings 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM and Saturday mornings 9 AM to 12 Noon.  We offer instruction on the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels for string students ages seven to 18.  College students and high school graduates are also welcomed.  The majority of our students make both Mondays and Saturdays.  They are the ones that get the furthest in their musical training.  We do have some students that can only make Mondays or Saturdays, or a mixture of both.  We accept them as well.  We continue to prepare students for auditions to earn college scholarships and even other music programs.  We have had students in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program.  Some have been a part of Allstate, the Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra, Dekalb Youth Symphony, and other honor orchestra programs.  

We are looking to take our program to new heights as we have some original hip-hop music to record.  Some of it will be radio and television "bumper" music.  We have already been asked to do some "theme songs" for some occasions and media.  Our students can become the superstars they already are.  

You may have friends, family, co-workers, co-worshipper, etc. that have children that play musical instruments.  Please ask them to encourage their children to encourage their orchestra (and band) classmates to attend our Open House and to join us.  Also, (when the school-year begins) ask him/her to ask the orchestra teacher to spread the word to the class.   I attached our fliers for the Concert and Open House.  I also attached a double flier (on pdf) of our "paper" copy of the School-Year/Open House so that the teacher can make copies without using so much ink.  You may do the same to pass out to friends, relatives, co-workers, co-worshippers as well as post on bulletin boards on your job (lounge area), your place of worship, and so on.  We would appreciate your efforts in spreading the word even if your child does not enroll.  Word of mouth is the best way we advertise.  We also appreciate your support through the years.  Although we are not traveling this summer, we still accept donations for all overall program, which convert to partial scholarships and financial assistance to offset the cost of tuition for those families that cannot afford it.  Please help us find students in that no-income family household category that are willing to commit to our program twice a week plus performances.  Have a blessed day.  

David E. Robinson III
Founder & Artistic Director
Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia

Please check out our website at
Included are some awesome music videos.

For 28 glorious years the Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia, founded as the William Grant Still Memorial Youth Orchestra of Metropolitan Atlanta has been providing quality instrumental music instruction in a fun, challenging, and nurturing environment to over 1,000 students.  On June 25, 1990 it began as a summer camp at Ronald E. McNair Junior High School in Dekalb County founded by 35-year veteran orchestra director, David E. Robinson III.  Sinfo-Nia has brought out the abilities and hidden talents of students who may be shy or lacking some of the basic music skills.  Some students come with a desire to want to take their skills to higher heights.  Some of Sinfo-Nia’s graduates have gone on to college to earn music scholarships.  Some of them are now playing in symphony orchestras, teaching on the elementary, secondary, and college level, and teaching on the college level.  

Students ages 7 through 18 can enroll and take courses on either the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level.  There are opening for strings: violin, viola, ‘cello, and double bass.  Brass, woodwind, and percussion students must be on the advanced level only.  Students learn to perform a variety of multicultural music: traditional orchestral literature (also known as “classical”), jazz, Negro spirituals, gospel, reggae, soca, ragtime, motion picture themes, country, Top-40: rock, R & B, hip-hop, classic oldies, and so on.  Students are taught scales and their variations, etudes, warm-ups, posture, and other technique.  Some students prepare to audition for other programs such as Allstate, college, youth symphonies, and honor orchestras.  

Through the years Sinfo-Nia has performed throughout Metropolitan Atlanta including in the presence of public officials, celebrities, and professional athletes.  Sinfo-Nia has performed in two music videos: one for a movie called “life.less” on the tune, Fly Away” by John Jay, and the other for rap recording stars Curren$y and Wale on the tune, “What It Look Like, ATL.”  Sinfo-Nia is already planning  to record original music that could be destined to become hits on the radio and music video charts.  In 2013, they did a music video with recording artist, “The Mad Violinist” called “Battle Field,” which has over 65,000 views worldwide.  Please check out more music videos of Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia on YouTube.

Sinfo-Nia has traveled throughout the United States performing at major music conventions, festivals, and such.  Sinfo-Nia has already traveled to West Africa twice and performed for some world dignitaries (including Ghana’s President, Dr. John Kuffour at his home on Christmas Day 2007), former UN Secretary General, Dr. Kofi Annan, and former UN Ambassador to Ghana from the US, Her Excellency, Dr. Pamela Bridgewater.  Sinfo-Nia is planning a third trip to the continent of Africa as well as other places.  Sinfo-Nia traveled to Jamaica to perform with the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica (NYOJ) in 2017.

A student’s participation in Sinfo-Nia can mean greater participation in his/her own school orchestra and/or band program.  If a student attends a school that does not have an orchestra or band program (or it has just been cut), he/she can still experience the finest in instrumental music and reap many benefits in preparation for college and beyond.  

Classes for the school-year will begin on Saturday, September 8, 2018.  Classes are held on Saturday mornings 9 AM to 12 Noon and Monday evenings 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the First Congregational Church Commons located at 125 Ellis St., Atlanta, GA 30303.   It is in downtown Atlanta so as to attract students from all over metro Atlanta.  Students who live out-of-town are also invited to take part (we have had students come from Columbia, SC and Macon, GA).  

Our annual two-week Summer Academy (Camp) is taking place June 11-22, 2018.  Students that live out of town who have relatives or close family friends they can stay with are encouraged to come and take part.  We have had students from the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Illinois, California, Colorado, and New York to come and take part.

Please visit Sinfo-Nia’s website at  You can also visit YouTube and type in “Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia” to see some of our performances.  Sinfo-Nia (Musician/Band) is also on Facebook with more videos.  For more information, please call (404) 328-0840.  Please encourage friends, family, classmates, co-workers, co-worshippers, etc. to check out Sinfo-Nia.  Please make copies of this flier (front and back), pass out to people and post on bulletin boards.  You are likely to run into people you know who have children who play instruments with some of them attending schools where the program had been eliminated. 

Free Library Livestreams "The Astronaut's Window: An Original Song & Poetry Tribute"

Dr. Cynthia Cozette Lee writes:

The Astronaut’s Window: An Original Song and Poetry Tribute to Black Scientists & Politicians Concert Review

(PHILADELPHIA, PA-JUNE 18, 2018):  If you missed the inspirational concert “The Astronaut’s Window: An Original Song and Poetry Tribute to Black Scientists and Politicians” performed at the Free Library Parkway Branch on Monday, June 18, 2018 at 7:00PM, you can still see and hear this extraordinary event through the Free Library Livestream Archives. The Free Library livestreams some of its programming and provides the public the opportunity of later viewing the program by accessing a link. This enchanting concert event was sponsored by the Music Department and Literature Department.
The link to access this exciting Juneteenth Day celebration concert will be active 2 weeks from today and the link is:

The highlight of the JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION poetry and music event was
the Lee sisters taking the audience through Black History with songs and poetry tributes to icons like Dr. George Washington Carver, Astronaut Guion S. Bluford, Jr, NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson, Congressman John Lewis and President Barack Obama. H.A. Lee asks in her “Journey of Living” poem tribute to George Washington Carver, “Have any of you ever held a piece of the thick red clay soil of Alabama? Have any of you tried to farm it?” The stirring poetry and music of the Lee sisters blended well with the uplifting voices of sopranos Hazelita Fauntroy and Evette Rose. The composer, Cynthia Cozette Lee, accompanied the illustrious singers at the electronic keyboard creating mood changes through different timbre use of the digital piano. The audience was mesmerized by each opera singer’s powerful performance.

The program ended with the audience actively participating in a question and answer session with the Lee sister poets. The audience asked engaging questions about the Civil War Memorial for Black Soldiers in Washington D.C. and in Philadelphia and asked questions about other aspects of the event topic. Overall the concert was a great success and we again invite all interested in viewing and hearing this uplifting event to visit the Free Library of Philadelphia archives that will be active 2 weeks from today and the link is:

For more information, contact the Parkway Central Free Library Branch,
Phone-215-686-5316; Email: Website:        or contact the composer, Cynthia Cozette Lee, directly at Email:

CAIR to Mark Juneteenth with Month-Long Photo Journal on Alabama Civil Rights Tour

This photo is part of the “Alabama Civil Rights Tour Photo Journal Project.” 

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/19/2018) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today launched the “Alabama Civil Rights Tour Photo Journal Project.” CAIR’s month-long campaign will share one image per day, along with personal reflections, from an educational tour taken recently by the civil rights organization’s staff. #AlabamaPilgrimage #Juneteenth2018

To view the first photo and reflection, go to:

In the first post, CAIR-NJ’s Abdul Mubarak-Rowe wrote:

“I have to be honest. I wasn’t sure whether I was emotionally prepared to confront this brutal legacy that was so raw and uncompromising in its brutal detail. These pilgrimages to these sacred sights aren’t for the faint of heart. It is overwhelming in its horrific detail but absolutely necessary in order to ensure that one never forget what occurred here. Do not let your children and grandchildren forget.”

CAIR’s photo journal project coincides with “Juneteenth,” or “Freedom Day,” commemorating the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas; the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

During the CAIR civil rights tour, some 30 American Muslim civil rights leaders and activists from around the country traveled to Alabama to visit sites of historical significance during the civil rights movement. Sites visited included the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and 16th Street Baptist Church. The group also attended the inauguration of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala.
Each day’s photo and accompanying reflection will be posted to CAIR’s social media platforms beginning on Juneteenth (June 19) and continuing for a month.

CAIR Facebook Page: 
CAIR Twitter Page:
CAIR Instagram Page: 

The CAIR photos and reflections can be tracked on social media using the hashtag #AlabamaPilgrimage

To find other Juneteenth related posts, follow the hashtag #Juneteenth2018.

“This educational project is an effort to center the struggle for civil rights in our nation as one led primarily by our African-American sisters and brothers, and to uplift those voices across diverse communities,” said CAIR National Chapter Manager Asma Rehman.

She noted that CAIR is set to release a documentary film that follows the journey of the American Muslim leaders as they walk the path of civil rights icons like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., learning about connections between slavery, the civil rights movement and Islamophobia, all culminating in the emotional grand opening of the first memorial to the thousands of African-Americans lynched in America.

“For those of us organizing our communities in the South, the specter of racial injustice continues to haunt us,” said CAIR-Alabama Government Affairs Coordinator Ali Massoud. “From police-involved shootings, to mass incarceration, to electoral disenfranchisement, this journey showed us that our nation’s present condition exists because we remain unable to honestly confront our past.”

“It has been some time since we returned from our deeply-impactful pilgrimage to Alabama and witnessed the histories of the people who came before us and paved the way for the work we now continue to do,” said CAIR-Massachusetts Youth Empowerment Coordinator Sumaiya Zama. “Since returning, we've been thinking deliberately about ways to ensure that our experience transcends us as a small group and manifests into an important conversation among our fellow Americans.”

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

Monday, June 18, 2018

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: The World is Flat-Use It!

Aaron P. Dworkin writes:

Greetings and welcome to this week's episode of AaronAsk, your weekly mentoring session to live a fulfilling creative life!  This week's episode is titled, The World is Flat-Use It!  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

Comment by email:
Thanks for sharing Bill!! Aaron  [Aaron P. Dworkin]

John Malveaux: La Marcus Miller & Cathy Miller perform songs of H. Leslie Adams 6/17

La Marcus Miller (Left), John Malveaux & Cathy Miller                                                                                                                                                     
John Malveaux of 

Attended African Americans for Los Angeles Opera annual Father's Day recital at residence of Ben and Delores Kerr. The recital opened with six songs composed by H. Leslie Adams. See Bass La Marcus Miller (left), John Malveaux and Cathy Miller, accompanist.  

Sunday, June 17, 2018

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Father's Day Message

[Alexandria, VA] The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) National President Clarence E. Cox, III released the following Father's Day message.
"The men and women of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives want to wish a Happy Father's Day to all of our fathers. In addition, we want thank the men in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to protect all Americans. Many of these men do not only save lives on a daily basis, but are amazing dads too. Dads play a pivotal role in our society mentoring the next generation of law enforcement officers and the people they serve. Thank you for your strength, bravery, and dedication which inspires us all."

About the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives 
Since 1976, The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has served as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action. NOBLE represents over 3,000 members internationally, who are primarily African-American chief executive officers of law enforcement agencies at federal, state, county and municipal levels, other law enforcement administrators, and criminal justice practitioners. For more information, visit